Angry Coach Fires Shot After Arguing With Spectator: Police

A man accused of firing his gun during a youth basketball game Saturday, sending spectators and players running and screaming, surrendered to police Monday afternoon.

Maurice Tavares, 26, turned himself in at the 18th District police headquarters at 55th and Pine streets around 4 p.m.

A coach for the Christy Recreation Basketball team told police Tavares was a coach for the opposing team.

During their game at the rec center on South 56th Street Saturday afternoon, as the Christy team was losing, but staging a comeback, Tavares allegedly got into an argument with a spectator.

As the arguing escalated, witnesses say Tavares told the spectator to "shut up."

When Christy's coach went over to see if he could calm things down, he says Tavares told him to get to the other side of the gym, started walking backward, pulled a gun out of his back waistband, fired it and fled.

"Everyone began screaming and running out of the gym," according to Public Information Officer Christine O'Brien. No one was hurt.

Tavares' lawyer Eugene Tenari spoke to NBC10 after his client turned himself in Monday.

"The law allows you, if you are under threat of serious bodily injury, to use force," he said.

Tenari admitted his client fired a shot inside the gym but also insisted he did it in self-defense because he feared for his life.

"The gun was not pointed at anybody," Tenari said. "The gun was not fired at anybody. I'm being told the shot was more in the air towards the ceiling."

Police told NBC10 however the only bullet hole they found was in a window just above the bleachers. They also said the evidence doesn't support self-defense.

"Our investigation hasn't led us there at this point," said Philadelphia Police Lieutenant John Walker. "As far as we know there was an argument. He pulls out a gun after the argument and fires one shot."

Tenari told NBC10 his client has a legal permit to carry the gun and that he was armed because he had previously been shot during another youth basketball game.

"He was shot in the leg at a basketball game as a coach earlier," Tenari said. "I don't have the exact date but within the past couple years."

Tavares, who lives in Chester, Delaware County, is a father of three and has no prior record. He now faces assault charges in connection to Saturday's incident.

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