A Westchester High School senior was shot in a neighborhood near Loyola Marymount University (LMU) after a thrilling game between the Westchester and Fairfax high school boys basketball teams Wednesday, February 6th, sparking security concerns amongst nearby residents.
Ray-Anthony Rolison was with a group that was leaving the basketball game — held on the LMU campus — at about 10 p.m., when they were confronted off-campus by several individuals near 80th Street and Georgetown Avenue in Westchester.
After the groups exchanged words, a suspect allegedly pulled out a gun and fired several shots, striking Rolison in the arm and torso, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer Ana Aguirre said. The suspect then fled, getting into the passenger side of a vehicle described as a light-colored, older-model Monte Carlo, and drove away, Aguirre said. No other injuries were reported.
As Rolison was being driven to the hospital, an ambulance was flagged down en route. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment and was released, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) spokeswoman Nadia Gonzalez said.
Police said the shooting was not connected to the rivalry high school basketball game at LMU, which was won by Westchester, 71-70, in double overtime. The incident appeared to be gang-related, although it is believed that the victim is not a gang member, Aguirre said.
No arrests have been made in the shooting. The suspect is described only as a black man, approximately 18 to 20 years old, with a slim build.
Anyone with additional information regarding the incident is asked to contact LAPD Pacific Area detectives at (310) 482-6313.
Gonzalez said an increased school police presence was on the Westchester High School campus the day after the shooting as a precaution and no incidents were reported.
The Westchester boys basketball game Friday, February 8th, was rescheduled from 7 p.m. to the afternoon.
“It’s an unfortunate event but it’s ultimately an isolated gang-related event,” Gonzalez said of the shooting.
The incident following the game at LMU triggered concern among nearby residents, who said they are not used to such incidents occurring in their neighborhood. Some referred to another stabbing incident following a game at St. Bernard High in Playa del Rey last year and called for action to be taken by police, LMU and school officials regarding high school games.
“To have such an act of violence in our community happen twice in a year is outrageous and we must act now before there is a chance for it to happen again,” Playa del Rey resident Nora MacLellan said. “The residents, students and visitors deserve better.”
Some residents also questioned the security provided for a heavily-attended game such as Westchester versus Fairfax, and called on school officials to address potential changes in game scheduling.
Gonzalez noted that while the shooting was an unfortunate event, the two rival high schools have competed against each other for years without any major problems.
“Both schools have been playing each other for years and nothing ever happened,” Gonzalez said.
LMU vice president of government relations Kathleen Flanagan also said that the university has hosted numerous high school games over the years and the February 6th incident was the first to occur in recent memory.
The Westchester-Fairfax basketball game was chosen for a neutral site at LMU to accommodate the large attendance expected with such a competitive rivalry, Gonzalez said. LMU has been an alternate site for both schools in the past.
“Because it was such a big event, we wanted to open it up,” Gonzalez said.
Flanagan noted that LMU wants to be “good neighbors” with local high schools and has a vested interest in hosting basketball games, as LMU recruits players from schools such as Westchester and Fairfax.
Senior administrators at LMU plan to discuss the recent shooting incident to see if changes should be made regarding the university’s “open-door” policy with high school games, Flanagan said.