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Second playground shooting in Reading in less than a week

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 28 2013 09:30:05 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 29 2013 02:42:02 PM CDT

Second playground shooting in Reading in less than a week

READING, Pa. -

It has happened again. Shots were fired on a playground in Reading. This time, it was in broad daylight.

Hours later, a suspect, Omar Altruz, 16, was arrested.

"They were just like, 'Pow, pow, pow,' three in a row," said Charlene Giddens, of Reaidng, who was sitting in her home across the street from the Reading Iron Playground when she heard three gun shots Monday evening.

"When I looked out, I saw a crowd of kids crowded around one individual on the basketball court," Giddens said. "I looked and said, 'Those were gunshots. He must have been shot.' I could see that he had been hit. So I called 911."

Officers converged on the playground just after 6 p.m. to find a man shot in his knee. Detectives told us it was a flesh wound.

"I have never seen something like that happen at a playground. Not ever," said Giddens.

But this is not the only playground shooting police are investigating. They just arrested Anthony Russell, 16, for attempted murder and aggravated assault in the playground shooting at 2nd and Oley streets last Tuesday.

"There should not be any type of shootings, especially in a playground with a lot of little kids around," said Jesus Deleon, of Reading.

For community members like Mary Freeman, who grew up near the park, she said it is shame it is not as safe for her children anymore.

"My kids love to come over here. It is sad because they love going to the park and they love playing over there, but it is pretty scary now because you do not know what is going to happen," Freeman said.

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Neighbors all agreed something needs to be done to keep the playgrounds safe for children.

Witnesses at the scene of Monday night's shooting told 69 News that several kids were fighting and that is when one of them pulled out a gun and shot the other. Police have yet to confirm that information.

Altruz was charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault and related charges. He was committed to the Berks County Jail on $500,000 bail.