Hammond mayor pulls basketball rims down at MLK Park after 2 shootings, 1 person killed

Two back-to-back shootings, one of them fatal, has prompted Hammond's mayor to pull the rims off the basketball courts at MLK Park.

Given the recent uptick in violence, he says there's no timetable on putting them back.

"To see the violence taking place at this park is disheartening and I think we need a time-out, so to speak, and let the situation calm down," said Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott.

Last week on Thursday night, a shooting at the brand-new basketball courts at MLK Park left two teenage boys hospitalized. Two days later, a 39-year-old was shot and killed in the exact same spot.

"The recent activity we've seen is taking place on the basketball court," McDermott said. "The fights, unfortunately the past two shootings we've had have all taken place on the basketball courts. People carrying weapons in close proximity to the courts and it's an unacceptable type of behavior."


Over the weekend, McDermott had the rims pulled down and put up signs saying the courts, which were just part of a $3 million upgrade to the park, are closed until further notice.

"I imagine that eventually we'll have them reopen, but right now we need to let the situation cool down," he said.

Until then, no basketball. But the rest of the park remains open.

"I'm not positive the two shootings are related, but they both happened at the same place and there's a lot of kids in the neighborhood around this area," said McDermott.

A man has been arrested in the fatal shooting. Hammond police continue to seek information about the one involving the teenage boys.

The basketball courts are closed indefinitely.