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Leading Basketball Player Slain, Second Teen Wounded

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Ryan Royall

Ryan Royall, 17, a basketball player for Hillcrest High School in Country Club Hills, was shot and killed at a birthday party at Ho Chunk Sports and Expo Center in Lynwood on June 5, 2011. (Credit: berecruited.com)

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Updated 06/05/11 – 5:20 p.m.

LYNWOOD, Ill. (STMW) – A birthday party ended tragically early Sunday when a shooting claimed the life of 17-year-old Hillcrest High School basketball standout and left a second teen wounded outside a sports center in south suburban Lynwood.

Ryan A. Royall, 17, of 17771 Winston Dr. in Country Club Hills, was shot multiple times at Ho Chunk Sports and Expo Center at 10 Southland Dr. in Lynwood and he was pronounced dead at 1:21 a.m. at Franciscan St. Margaret Mercy Health Care in Dyer, Ind., Lake County (Ind.) Deputy Coroner Pam Nauracy said. A release from the Lake County Coroner’s office said Royall was shot at least once in the back.

A Sunday autopsy determined the death was a homicide, Nauracy said.

Royall, who just finished his junior year at Hillcrest, played basketball for the school. The guard and he was seen playing all day Saturday during the Riverside-Brookfield Summer Tournament.

At 12:47 a.m., police responded to the Ho Chunk Sports and Expo Center, where they found two teens shot, according to a release from Lynwood police.

The wounded were found in a parking lot of the establishment, according to Lynwood Deputy Fire Chief John Swanson, who was one of the first responders.

The surviving teen was taken to St. James Hospital and Health Centers in Chicago Heights, but Swanson declined to release the teen’s condition.

Three hundred to 500 people were attending the Expo for a birthday party for a 16-year-old when the incident occurred, according to the release.

Royall was remembered by Hillcrest basketball coach Don Houston.

“He was such a harmless kid. There wasn’t a mean bone in his body,” Houston said.

Houston said he believed the shooting was “random” and stemmed from a fight that Royall had no part of.

“From what I understand, the party was pretty much over and a fight broke out in the other parking lot,” Houston said. “Ryan was in a different parking lot, far away from that when he was shot. He wasn’t involved, it was just a random shooting.”

Royall was expected to be one of Hillcrest’s top players this year.

“He played in all three games for us yesterday. We went 3-0 and were going to play in the championship bracket today [Sunday],” Houston said. “Ryan was one of my leading players, an all-conference guy. Just a tough kid on the court.”

Houston, along with all of Royall’s teammates were at Royall’s mother’s home Sunday afternoon.

“We’re just doing the best we can to keep her spirits up,” Houston said Sunday afternoon.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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