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Weekend Shooting at Amsterdam park disrupts basketball tournament

AMSTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A basketball tournament held in Montgomery County over the weekend in an effort to raise awareness for youth and gun violence was ironically disrupted by gunfire. Event founders say they were honoring Dominique Eley, a young woman killed by gunfire on Albany streets, last year. News10 was able to speak with event planners and city officials and has more on developments there.

Kids from across the state were in Amsterdam, New York for a basketball tournament that was abruptly ended after someone at Veteran’s Park was shot. Police say an Amsterdam woman came to the event and shot someone she knew in the while the tournament was taking place just feet away on the basketball courts.

Summertime Love Foundation helps teens to stay on the right track and keep guns out of their hands. The mentorship program was developed by Robert McDonald an Albany man who now lives down in the city.

“Guns are too prevalent in this country and they’re everywhere and there’s no longer any isolated place that’s not impacted by it. And so, us as a people, with this platform we want to try to use it to bring consciousness and sensitivity to an area that seems like we’ve almost gotten numb,” said McDonald.

Unfortunately, McDonald saw that violence unfold during his event with hundreds at the park.

“The day was beautiful, and it started out so great. And so, we’re playing on the court and then all of a sudden you hear a pop sound like a firecracker. It was actually a shot, and it was up the hill and so everybody just started running for safety,” said McDonald.

This is the second shooting in Amsterdam within weeks of each other. Mayor Michael Cinquanti says the violence has sent shockwaves through the community.

“Two women who have been involved in a pretty, you know, long-term dispute, the one shot the other with a legally registered gun,” said Cinquanti.

The mayor went on to tell NEWS10 that there are numerous plans in the works to keep people safe.

“For instance, we don’t have video cameras in the park, so we are in the process of installing video cameras throughout the park. We’re going to have a greater police presence. We have had a greater police presence in the park since the first shooting. It’s going to be enhanced even beyond that,” said Cinquanti.

Police confirm that 36-year-old Josefina Baret-Araujo was arrested on scene and was charged with one felony count of Assault, Criminal Possession of Weapon and Reckless endangerment.  She was released on bond Monday morning. Baret-Araojo is expected back in court August 29.

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