A few months after two teenagers were shot and one killed after a game of pick-up basketball on the courts of Harvest Ministries, Wadesboro police aim to repair some of the damage through basketball.
Wadesboro police officer Joshua Helms came up with the idea for a community basketball tournament with law enforcement to help nurture the relationship with the community. The tournament was organized at Harvest Ministries – the same courts where the February shooting occurred.
Since Malik Byrd was shot and killed leaving the courts, many have stayed away. “Bad karma, bad energy around the area. All the shootings and violence that was going around,” local AAU coach Jamoszio Burch said.
According to WSOC-TV, personnel from Wadesboro police, local fire departments, Anson County Sheriff’s office and deputies from neighboring counties like Union and Stanly participated in the tournament.
On the court, everyone is just a player and teammate – there are no divisions. Burch said, “When you step in between those lines, we are brothers whether you’re fighting against each other or with each other.”
It’s that spirit of camaraderie in basketball that Helms hopes will bring officers and community members together.
“If that’s what we can do to bring everyone together, we’ll do it,” Helms said.
Bunyon Tyson, who grew up in Wadesboro and returned after graduating from college, played in the tournament Saturday. “It means a lot to me to see this, to see community come together especially everything that’s been going on in the past couple years. I think it’s a great thing for us,” he said.
The police department and Harvest Ministries hope to have many of these events in the future as part of an ongoing effort to prevent violence in the community.
Pastor Steve Adams also spoke to the value that these events bring to the community, saying they serve as a reminder of the potential for change.
“Horrible stuff happens that we wish wouldn’t happen, it’s events like this to remind us we can change that.”