Lancaster High basketball player died as gang gunfight exploded around him

Allen Jerome Cooper
Allen Jerome Cooper

Lancaster Police believe the killing of a Lancaster High student Wednesday after a community basketball game is one of two recent teen shootings that are gang related.

The Lancaster News says police are reporting that the death of Allen Jerome Cooper Jr., 17, occurred after a gang-related gunfight exploded around him, with shots exchanged from multiple directions.

“This was most likely planned as opposed to something that just happened,” Lancaster Police Chief Scott Grant told the Lancaster News. “There was a gunfight that took place out there.”

Cooper, who played basketball for Lancaster High, died shortly after 9 p.m. in the parking lot of Barr Street Family Life Center, 612 E. Meeting St. He was there playing in a community basketball league organized through Hope on the Hill.

Grant would not comment as to whether Cooper was specifically targeted, the newspaper reported.

Lancaster Police told the News that the April 11 shooting death of Mar’Quise Deshun Evans, 19, at Caroline Court apartments was also gang related. However, Grant stopped short of calling the shootings a “gang war.”

Cooper played in the first of two games at the community center Wednesday and was leaving when the shooting began, the News said. He died at the scene.