Savage takes down basketball hoops in response to shooting at River Bend Park
A neighborhood in Savage remains on edge after a weekend shooting left two boys critically injured.
Savage police said the two victims are now in stable condition.
The city got rid of the basketball hoops at River Bend Park to curb crime in the area.
A neighbor told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS off-camera it’s not fair her kids can no longer use the court. Others explained if it helps decrease violent incidents, they support it.
Savage resident Sandy Taylor and her friends take an afternoon walk along River Bend Park daily.
“Great friends and neighbors, everybody’s friendly, and it’s fun,” Taylor said.
But fun turned into fear Sunday night.
“We were all enjoying dinner when we heard the full clip go off, and I was like, ‘Was that a gunshot?’” Taylor said.
The Savage Police Department is investigating the shooting that happened around 8 p.m. Sunday at River Bend Park.
“It’s very scary. I had a hard time sleeping, and I was scared to walk my dog,” Taylor said.
Investigators are still trying to find out what led up to the incident; a K-9 was out sniffing for clues on Tuesday afternoon.
This was the second incident in the last few months. In April, a fight at the park escalated into a shooting that spilled into the neighborhood.
“We decided to take down the hoops as a temporary fix to give us time to assess the problem in a more holistic manner,” Savage City Administrator Brad Larson said. “What we’re seeing is that we have kids playing basketball, and there’s a lot of people that hang out around the basketball hoops. It’s our opinion that that’s where the activity is coming from.”
But there’s some pushback.
Messages written in chalk cover the basketball court, urging the city to let the youth play sports.
“We know this is negatively affecting the kids that use the park. They use it appropriately,” Larson said. “We want to give them the opportunities to recreate here, so we want to bring the hoops back, but we have to make sure the kids are safe.”
“I’m not sure I would come up here after 4 p.m. anymore just because of what has happened,” Kari Grittner, neighbor, said.
Neighbors said they see both sides, but the crime has to stop.
“I’m not in favor of that violence, so if pulling the hoops down is what’s going to help them, I guess that’s what we need to do for a while,” Grittner said.
City officials said they’re considering more long-term solutions for the area, such as better lighting, security cameras and different park hours.