85
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      Boy, 9, wounded by stray bullets after gunfire erupts on basketball court in Tuscaloosa

      Tuscaloosa Homicide investigators are having to separate fact from fiction in finding who shot a 9-year-old boy around 9 p.m. Monday night.

      We're told he's from Birmingham but was visiting with family in the Hayes Court Housing Community.{} The child was hanging with his 17-year-old cousin at the basketball court when, according to law enforcement, a 26-year-old man confronted the teen about an ongoing dispute.{} As the little boy and his cousin ran away from the dark and crowded court, gunfire rang out and the child was struck twice by stray bullets.

      "We believe someone right there fired these shots," Sgt. Dale Phillips of the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office said. "Could it have been a bystander standing around. Could it have been the 26 year old that approached? Could it have been the 17-year-old? We have not ruled anybody out."

      Phillips said the investigation has been stalled due to witnesses refusing to share information about the incident. Only a few witnesses are cooperating with the authorities, Phillips said.

      The shooting has many residents of the housing community upset and concerned about the safety of other children in the area, including Kendrick Rogers, who hopes this is just an isolated incident. "This should be a safe place, especially for the kids," Rogers said. "We don't need this issue.{} We don't need kids getting hurt.It's sad because kids cannot be playing around our community without violence."

      After he was shot, the little boy and his cousin ran to the opposite side of the housing complex. He was later transported to a hospital in Birmingham, where he is expected to recover from his injuries.

      Rogers, who said the boy was caught in the middle of a bad situation, declined to share his account of the confrontation just prior to the shooting. "The adults are causing the problem and the kids that are around are taking the heat from their problems."

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