Norfolk addressing gun violence with basketball tournament

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(Courtesy of City of Norfolk)

(Courtesy of City of Norfolk)

The city of Norfolk wants to make the role of law enforcement very clear, and it’s using basketball to do so.

The city’s Department of Neighborhood Development is hosting the third annual “Shoot Hoops Not Guns” community basketball tournament today at Norview Community Center, 6380 Sewells Point Rd., from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. City staff, residents and Norfolk police officers will participate in the games. It is funded through public donations, according to Marilyn Burress, who works in the department.

“The purpose of this event is to demystify the roles police officers play in Norfolk,” according to the city’s description of last year’s event. It also seeks to bridge the gap between residents and local law enforcement, spread awareness of gun violence and teach prevention.

The tournament comes after July shootings involving police officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas. About 50 people have signed up for the tournament, Burress said. Most attendees of last year’s tournament were between the ages of 15 and 22, according to Burress.

The City adopted an ordinance in May to facilitate donations for the event. The day introduces residents to the recreation center as an alternative to violence, Burress said.

“They’ll (residents) know it’s okay to come to the rec center and play basketball and have fun, and not shoot guns,” Burress said.

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Norfolk addressing gun violence with basketball tournament