The founder of a community basketball league in Philadelphia was shot and killed on Sept. 11, along with one of his players, during a trophy presentation at a playground.
Philadelphia police told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Miles Mack, 42, was handing out trophies when two hooded gunmen broke up the ceremony. He threw his body over those of his players, trying to shield them, police said, but was shot once in the buttocks. The bullet struck a femoral artery and he bled to death.
Police said Mack, who created the nonprofit Xtra Miles Development Basketball League in 2004, was not the intended target. The target was believed to be Darren Hankins, 19, who was shot repeatedly, even after he fell to the ground wounded. Hankins was killed, and four others were wounded, police said.
Though as many as 200 spectators apparently saw the shooting, police said they are frustrated because no one has been able or willing to identify the gunmen.
Mack, a veteran employee of the city’s Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, created the basketball league to encourage productive summer activities for youth ages 8 through 18. In addition to basketball games, the league focuses on team building and leadership activities, as well as college preparation, job skills and drug prevention.
Xtra Miles began in West Philadelphia, but now incorporates teams from all over the city, though it receives no government money. It has grown more than 250 percent in the past five years. The league lists more than a dozen mentors.
Contact: Xtra Miles, http://www.mantua1.com/xtramiles.