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1 shot to death in Hammond; mayor shuts down basketball courts at MLK Park after 2nd shooting in 3 nights

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Hammond Shooting

Police respond to a shooting Saturday night at Hammond's Doctor Martin Luther King Park. A 39-year-old man was killed. 

HAMMOND — A man was shot to death in Hammond's Dr. Martin Luther King Park on Saturday night, the second shooting that occurred there in three nights. 

In response, Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. has instructed the Hammond parks department to shut down all three basketball courts at MLK Park indefinitely. 

Hammond police responded to reports of a shooting in the 900 block of Lyons Street at about 7 p.m. Saturday. At the scene, officers found 39-year-old Jullius Brooks lying on the ground and discovered he had been shot, police Lt. Steven Kellogg said. Brooks, of Hammond, was taken to Franciscan Health Hammond where he died from his wounds.

Kellogg said that a person of interest has been taken into custody and that charges are expected to be presented to the Lake County prosecutor's office Monday morning. 

2nd shooting in 3 nights at Hammond park

Saturday's incident came after another shooting in MLK Park left two injured Thursday.

At about 7:55 p.m., police responded to reports of shooting in the 1000 block of Lyons Street. An unidentified person had been shot multiple times and was taken to a Chicago-area hospital. Later that night, another victim who was involved in the Lyons Street incident arrived at the hospital, Kellogg said. 

Police were unable to provide an update on the two victim's current conditions as of Sunday afternoon. 

In response to the "recent spate of violence in MLK Park," McDermott announced all of the park's basketball courts would be closed as of Sunday. McDermott said that he does not currently have a timeline for reopening the courts and that he is "waiting for the situation to cool down." 

"This park is named after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a champion of peace. I cannot sit by and watch this beautiful park be a haven for violence. The stupid acts of a few, if left unchecked, will ruin this park for the vast majority of law abiding and peaceful families, residents and users of the park," McDermott wrote in a statement to The Times. 

Hammond shooting

In response to the shooting Saturday night, Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. has instructed the Hammond parks department to shut down all three basketball courts at MLK Park indefinitely. 

At the start of July, McDermott closed the skateboard area of Pulaski Park after repeated vandalism and graffiti. The skate park reopened just two weeks ago with an increased police presence. 

"When events happen and people disrespect our parks, I believe that action must be taken to remind everyone of the privilege we have in Hammond of having such nice parks. If people think bringing guns to a park is a good idea, then we have a problem, both as a city and a society," McDermott wrote. "We love our parks in Hammond. This is not the decision I want to make, but a decision I have to make at this time." 

Anyone with information on either incident is asked to contact authorities at 219-852-2906. 

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