Shots Fired Inside CNY Veteran’s Center; Founder Says Mission Is Unchanged
Security enhancements are coming to the Central New York Veterans' Outreach Center/ Utica Center for Development after shots rang out in the facility's gymnasium during a basketball game.
Utica police were called to 726 Washington Street in Utica shortly after 9:00 Thursday night - the former downtown YMCA building - which has been home to the Outreach Center for the last several years, providing various services and programs to veterans.
Found and Executive Director Vincent Scalise says they also provide a safe place for youth to gather and said that will continue in the future.
"We're not going to let a couple bad apples stop what we do for the youth. The gym is closing for now and will reopen on September 12. We're reviewing our security procedures," Scalise said. "But, we're going to continue to provide a place for youth to gather and come together."
Utica Police are still investigating and reviewing surveillance footage in hopes of identifying a suspect, officials said.
Speaking with WIBX 950 on Friday, Scalise said staff informed him that a group had entered the gymnasium were 'acting suspiciously', and were ultimately asked to leave. He said there were several people inside the gym playing basketball before the group had entered the facility.
"[After being asked to leave] they started a fight and a gun was discharged," Scalise said. "Thank God no one was hurt. There's a really nice hold in the gym floor now, so we've going to have to repair that."
Utica Police received calls for the shots fired incident about the same time patrolling officers reported hearing gunfire in downtown Utica. It is believed that at least two shots were fired inside the Center's gymnasium, and possibly two more outside the center, as officer's found shell casings outside the building, police said.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the UPD's GIVE Unit (Gun Involved Violence Enforcement) at (315) 315 520 0842. Police also reminding the community they can submit a 100% anonymous tip online through Mohawk Valley Crime Stoppers at www.mohawkvalleycrimestoppers.com, by calling 1-866-730-8477 (TIPS), or by using the P3 Tips mobile app.