Crime & Courts

Police present evidence against suspects on youth basketball team from Minnesota

Police first responded to the 500 block of South Market at around 11 p.m. on Sunday.
Police first responded to the 500 block of South Market at around 11 p.m. on Sunday. File photo

Wichita police on Tuesday presented evidence to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office against eight members of a youth basketball team from Minnesota who were arrested following a series of assaults late Sunday night.

The case “has been taken under advisement,” Dan Dillon, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said in an e-mail. “No formal charging decisions have been made yet.”

The boys, all but one of them under the age of 18, were in town for the Mid America Youth Basketball tournament last weekend, police have said.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that they were members of Urban Stars Athletics, an arm of Urban Ventures, a nonprofit organization that assists inner-city families in poverty.

Urban Ventures’ CEO Timothy Clark said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday evening that “this is an unprecedented incident for our program and we take the infractions of these players very seriously.”

Clark said that, following a team dinner on Sunday, several of the players and a friend “skipped out on a chaperone while she was doing their laundry.” The coach was notified by police when the individuals were detained.

“We believe that participants, staff and volunteers need to be held accountable for their actions and the youth will go through our disciplinary process,” he said.

Dillon said team members were jailed on alleged offenses that include misdemeanor battery and one felony count of aggravated assault. All have since been released.

Police first responded to the 500 block of South Market at around 11 p.m. on Sunday. A 48-year-old man reported that the group of teens approached him as he stood on his front porch, yelled at him, made threats and threw rocks, bottles, bricks and chunks of concrete.

A 29-year-old man at the residence tried to run away, but the group of teenagers tackled and beat him.

A 32-year-old man was riding a bicycle near Waterman and Main in downtown Wichita Sunday night when 10 to 12 teens knocked him off his bike, police said. They assaulted him with punches, kicks and rocks.

Police are also investigating whether several homeless people were victims of assault throughout the night.

Investigators are waiting to see whether additional victims come forward, Lt. James Espinoza said Tuesday. Anyone victimized by the teens is being asked to call 911.

About 5,000 competitors from across the country were in town for the weekend competing in the annual tournament.

Contributing: Matt Riedl of The Eagle

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

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