Community center where teen was killed had no security, official says

Allen Cooper, 17
Allen Cooper, 17 WBTV

The 17-year-old who was shot and killed outside a community center in Lancaster Wednesday has been identified as Allen Jerome Cooper Jr. of Lancaster.

Lancaster police said the shooting happened around 9 p.m. at a community center, after a community basketball game in the 600 block of W. Meeting Street. News outlets are reporting there was no security on site at the time.

Officers say they arrived to find Cooper on the ground outside the Hope on The Hill Community Center at the Barr Street School campus. The Lancaster coroner’s office said he died of a single gunshot wound, reported the Rock Hill Herald.

Cooper is a student at Lancaster High School and played on the school’s basketball team, the Herald reported. However, the basketball game where the shooting occurred was affiliated with a recreational league and was not a school function, officials told the Rock Hill Herald.

No arrest had been announced as of Thursday morning.

Bryan Vaughn, a safety director with the Lancaster County schools, told the Lancaster News that he believes there was no security at the community center during the shooting. Extra patrols at Lancaster High and the Barr Street site will be added, he told the News.

“As far as security at that building after hours, that’s something we are constantly evaluating,” Vaughn told The Lancaster News. “Of course we will be looking at those types of things as we move forward.”

Charlotte TV station WSOC reported Cooper was leaving the site with a group of people when several shots were heard. Police weren’t sure Thursday morning if Cooper was targeted, and they have not released a motive, WSOC reported.

Lancaster High had a moment of silence Thursday morning to remember Cooper, reported the Lancaster News.

Rosalyn Mood, LHS interim principal, told the News that guidance counselors are available to the students who are grieving.

“It breaks our hearts,” Mood told the Lancaster News. “We are a family, and when we lose one, it hurts all of us. It’s like losing one of your own. … We are trying to have a normal day, as much as we can, that tries to help the healing process.”

Anyone with additional information is asked to call the Lancaster Police Department at 803-283-1173.