Fight preceded shooting of Aliquippa basketball star

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A quarrel over a ride after a party led to the shooting of Aliquippa basketball star Herb Pope, police said yesterday as they announced an arrest warrant for the suspect.

"This kid has a bright future in front of him, a top athlete. It's senseless, over a ride," Aliquippa Police Chief Ralph Pallante said at a news conference.

   
Marcus C. Longmire
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Authorities were in contact yesterday with the family of Marcus C. Longmire, 19, to get him to surrender and face charges of attempted homicide, a firearms violation and two counts each of aggravated assault and simple assault.

"They said they were trying to contact an attorney and get him to turn himself in," Chief Pallante said.

Police said Mr. Pope attended a party in the 800 block of Eighth Avenue in Aliquippa and was leaving when he got into a fight Saturday around 2:45 a.m. with Tremaine Foster, 20.

Mr. Foster apparently wanted a ride home with a man giving Mr. Pope a lift, but they refused. Police said Mr. Foster became upset and began a fight with the basketball player, but Mr. Pope fended him off.

Then Mr. Longmire came to his friend's aid, punching Mr. Pope and then pulling a revolver, police said. Chief Pallante said the 5-foot-3 Mr. Longmire shot at the 6-foot-9 Mr. Pope five times. Four bullets hit him -- two in the abdomen, one in the thigh and one in the left forearm.

Mr. Pope ran off. He was picked up by two people whom police would not identify, and taken to Aliquippa Hospital. Mr. Pope was then taken by helicopter to UPMC.

Mr. Pope identified the shooter as Mr. Longmire during an interview with detectives at UPMC Presbyterian.

Two females who attended the party and witnessed the altercation, but did not want to be identified, gave their account to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

They said Mr. Pope was leaving the party with a male friend and three girls. All five got into a car, with the girls in the back seat and Mr. Pope on the passenger's side.

A man they knew as "Tre" -- Mr. Foster -- approached the car and got into a heated discussion with Mr. Pope. He wanted the keys to Mr. Pope's car, which was parked elsewhere. Mr. Pope refused. The two females said Mr. Foster punched Mr. Pope in the side of the head.

Mr. Pope became upset, got out of the car and the two fought.

"[Pope] beat him up," one female said.

Others tried to break up the fight, but it started again. One of the female witnesses said that's when another man approached Mr. Pope, got into a scuffle with him and shot him.

Earlier in the night, sources said Mr. Pope was in the Hill District in Pittsburgh and drove to the party in Aliquippa with three girls. When the girls wanted to leave, Mr. Pope did not want to use his car because the taillights were not working properly. So Mr. Pope's friend was going to drive the girls back to Pittsburgh.

One of the female witnesses said Mr. Pope drank alcohol at the party.

Police described Mr. Pope as cooperative afterward.

"He wants justice served," said Detective Sgt. Don Couch, who interviewed Mr. Pope along with Detective Capt. Anthony McClure of the Beaver County district attorney's office. "Everything looks good, like he's gonna make a full recovery."

Mr. Longmire uses his mother's address in the Hill District but is known to stay in Aliquippa, Beaver Falls, Midland and Rochester.


Jonathan D. Silver can be reached at jsilver@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1962.


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