Father shot, killed after pickup basketball game

There were at least a half dozen witnesses, some as young as 12 years old

By Mark Boyle - Reporter

HOUSTON - What was a friendly game of pickup basketball ended in a deadly fight between the winners and losers.

Officials said two groups played a game of basketball at Independence Heights Park in northwest Houston off of East 35th Street late Thursday night.

Police said after the game, the winning group jumped on their bikes and headed out of the area.

But minutes later, police said the men who lost followed after the others.

The shooting happened at the intersection of Airline and 34th Street.

"Some of the people lost the basketball game, and according to one of the witnesses, was a sore looser so they came after some of the guys who live over here on the other side of Airline," said HPD Sgt. T. Richardson.

There were "words exchanged," according to police, and then one man, who was part of the group who lost the game, pulled out a gun and shot a 27-year-old man, later identified as Wilbert Lee, in the back.

"One of the gentelmen in the grassy area pulled out a gun, pointed it at several of them and ended up shooting it," said Sgt. Richardson.

Emergency crews showed up and rushed the Lee to Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital, but he died a short time later.

Lee's brother spoke with Local 2's Mark Boyle, but did not want to be identified.

"I never knew it would be that serious, but for the person who went and got the relatives to come and retaliate over a basketball game and do that type of harm to my family, it's not right," the victims' family said.

Lee was the father of a 5-year-old boy.

"That's what he does, he plays basketball and goes home and takes care of his son," the victim's brother said.

Investigators have spoken with witnesses, but so far no one has been able to tell officers the name of the suspect. Police said there were at least a half dozen witnesses, some as young as 12 years old.

Anyone with information that could help police make an arrest should call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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