Mayor Jim Gray said Monday that Lexington police were working hard to determine what was behind multiple shootings Sunday night during a basketball tournament at Douglass Park.
"I have full confidence in our police department and I especially appreciate the leadership of our police chief, Mark Barnard," Gray said. "Police are working vigorously — even today, especially today — on the shootings that occurred last night."
Five people were shot at Douglass Park about 9:15 p.m. Sunday, Lexington police said. Officers were in the park when they heard multiple gunshots, said Lt. Jonathan Bastian.
Three victims were taken by ambulance to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, Bastian said. Two others arrived at hospitals in private vehicles.
One victim was listed in critical condition. The two people who arrived in private vehicles had minor injuries, Bastian said.
The shootings occurred at the Herb Washington Basketball Complex, home of the annual Dirt Bowl tournament, which is held the third week of July.
Said Shaun Washington, son of Herbert Washington Jr., Dirt Bowl co-founder, "My dad is rolling over in his grave right now," he'd be so upset at the shootings.
During its peak, the Dirt Bowl was the top outdoor basketball league in the country, according to the city of Lexington's website. It was even featured in Sports Illustrated and USA Today.
No arrests have been made in the shootings, and there "was a lot of conflicting information" about what happened, Bastian said.
The area has seen other violence of late. On June 7, just a little more than a half-mile from Douglass Park, three men who were related to one another were shot in two separate incidents just hours and blocks apart.
Montez Graves, 31, and Ronnie Graves, 54, were killed. Police charged Jermaine Anderson, 21, with murder in Montez Graves' killing.
"Because these cases are under investigation, I can't go into the specifics of the cases, but in many of these cases, drugs are a common denominator," the mayor said.
Gray said police were contacting area churches and the NAACP to help address the recent uptick in violent crime. The city saw a similar increase in shootings early last summer.
"We see the rate of incidents grow in the summer," Gray said of violent crimes. "This is regrettable but factual."
Police are asking for help from residents in their investigation of the Douglass Park shootings.
"When the shots were fired, there was a lot of chaos," Bastian said. "We're having difficulty identifying witnesses. So we would make a big plea for people, if they were here and if they saw anything, they don't have to meet us in person. They can call (859) 258-3700."