Shooting near Port St. Lucie little league field increases safety fears

Park attracts gangs, fights, drugs, neighbors say

Port St. Lucie police had their feet in the fields of Sportsman's Park.  By afternoon, a sign on the basketball courts read, "Basketball courts are closed until further notice."

The moves are the result of a shooting Wednesday night that left 25 year old Marcus Demar Samuel dead.

"Right now police are still investigating the shooting and what lead to this kind of violence," said Tom Nichols, spokesperson for the Port St. Lucie Police Department.
 
What police do know is Samuel and Terry McKliver, of Fort Pierce, were playing basketball when the two started arguing. Police say, the argument became deadly.
 
"To rise to a level where someone was shot over a basketball game is just intolerable," said Nichols.

Even more alarming, the shooting occurred about 100 yards away from where two baseball fields were packed with little leaguers.

Jeff Harkcom was a coach on the field of his son's team when bullets brought the ballgame to a standstill.

"It was very chaotic.  You don't expect here in Port St. Lucie playing the all American game here in and gunshots break out one hundred yards away," he said.
 
Tony Rosetti grew up playing on the courts and fields. He says the problems at Sportsman's Park are getting worse.

"No, it's not a safe park anymore.  At night this place is crawling with all sorts of gangs, they're selling drugs out here," he said.
 
The city disagrees. "For the public to say the park is not safe, that's up for debate.  I'm here to reinsure the public that the park is safe," said Nichols.

It's a city stance after a shooting that, for some, hits too close to home base. According to the city, the basketball courts will remain closed for the next few days.  

The suspect, Terry McKliver was arrested on unrelated charges.  

The Port St. Lucie National Little League will offer stress debriefing for its members Friday evening at 6 p.m. at the community center on Airosa Blvd.  

Police will also be stepping up patrols around the park.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments