Spray of bullets hits four in drive-by shooting at south Albany park

Jan. 10—ALBANY — Albany police are investigating what was described as a drive-by shooting at a city park in which multiple shots were fired into a group of people that left four injured.

Four victims ages 12 through 25 received gunshot wounds that were not considered life-threatening in the incident that occurred on Sunday evening, according to the Albany Police Department. The shootings occurred at a Driskell Park basketball court behind the 1023 S. McKinley St. Driskell Community Center, and police responded to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, where all of the victims had been taken by private car, at about 7:35 p.m.

Victims, who were in the area of the basketball courts, heard gunshots after seeing a red car arrive at the location, and some were hit by bullets as they tried to run to safety.

They described a gunman wearing a black ski mask as the shooter.

One of the victims, who had multiple gunshot wounds to the buttocks and thigh, reported that the gunman was hanging out of the car window and fired multiple shots from a long gun.

Other victims were hit in the buttocks, left elbow and left calf, police said.

The shooting remained under investigation on Tuesday.

Whether rumors that the shooting was spurred by a social media post of someone boasting "I'll be there" are true or not, the shooting points to a disturbing trend, said Ward VI Albany City Commissioner Demetrius Young, who represents much of south Albany.

"It's unfortunate, but it's not anything different from what we've been experiencing over the past couple of years with the pandemic and uptick of violence in Albany and other cities," Young said.

The city is investing in the park, and the commissioner said he hopes that will help curtail some of the violence in the future.

"We knew the neighborhood had deteriorated to this point, and hopefully it's going to turn around," Young said. "It's definitely a place I hope is not stigmatized, and we're not going to let this area be stigmatized.

"This is a black eye, and we're going to make sure those who are responsible are held accountable."

Last year the commission earmarked $10 million for renovations at Driskell Park and Henderson Gym.

Community meetings and other actions are feel-good measures, but Young said the ready availability of guns makes for an environment that is much different than when he was a 12-year-old playing football at the same park then known as Carver Park. That turns what would have been fights into deadly shootings.

"Now 12-year-old kids playing are getting shot," Young said.