A $500 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons fired shots at the electronic scoreboard at the Horton Avenue basketball court.
More than a dozen shots struck the metal scoreboard, some of them penetrating its metal surface.
The damage to the scoreboard was discovered yesterday, said Dwayne Eleazer of Riverhead, organizer of the Stop the Violence basketball tournament held on the Horton Avenue court each August.
Fortunately, it does not appear that the damage done to the scoreboard will affect its functionality, Eleazer said. The 2022 tournament is coming up next weekend, Aug. 13-14.
The scoreboard was purchased and installed in 2017, at a cost of $4,000-$5,000, which was donated by Columbia Care. Then-Councilwoman Jodi Giglio arranged the donation, Eleazer said.
The Horton Avenue park, which features a children’s playground, some picnic tables and the basketball court, is a Riverhead Town park.
The town refurbished the basketball court in 2016, installing a new epoxy court surface. It is blue with white markings, in honor of the Riverhead Blue Waves colors.
“We’ve been asking the town to put up a night light, hoping that will deter people from hanging out there,” he said.
Riverhead Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ray Coyne said today he is in favor of installing lighting at the Horton Avenue Park. “I put it in my capital plan,” he said. Coyne also said he’d like to install security cameras at all town parks and playgrounds. Vandalism is a persistent problem, Coyne said.
Coyne reported the incident to the Riverhead Police Department when Eleazer contacted him this morning, he said. Police quickly came to the park to document the damage, Coyne said.
Riverhead Town Police Chief David Hegermiller said the incident is under investigation by police.
“It’s a shame that someone would do this right before the Stop the Violence tournament,” Coyne said.
Each year a 12 to 20 teams from around the region enter the tournament to compete for a cash prize.
Eleazer co-founded the double-elimination basketball tournament in 2007 with former Riverhead resident Larry Williams.
“The whole idea of the tournament is to stop street violence by providing an environment where people can make acquaintances, get to know each other and build friendships,” Williams told RiverheadLOCAL in 2016.
“We’re trying to build friendships and respect,” Eleazer said at the time. “When people get to know each other, they are less likely to engage in violent behavior.”
The cash reward is being offered by a “caring citizen in the community wants to remain anonymous,” Eleazer said. Anyone with information is asked to call Riverhead Town Police detectives at 631-727-4500.
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