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Coach: Jefferson linebackers shooting just doesn't make sense

High school player was among six wounded late Friday night in a gang-related attack
by: Tribune File Photo Jefferson High School coach, shown here in the 2009 5A championship game against Hillsboro, is trying to make sense of a Friday night shooting at a bus stop that wounded one of his players.

As Jefferson High football coach Anthony Stoudamire drove home Friday night, suddenly the fact that his team had lost its season opener 31-6 to visiting Crescent Valley was unimportant.

Stoudamire received a phone call from one of his assistant coaches, telling him that one of their players had just been shot.

B.J. Henderson, a junior linebacker for the Democrats, was in a house with several other young men at 11:20 p.m., in the area of North Jessup Street and Albina Avenue - near the school - when he was hit by three bullets, one in the calf and two in the foot, according to Stoudamire.

Five other young men also were shot. Portland police said none of their injuries was considered life threatening.

The shooting is being investigated by the Portland police Gang Enforcement Team as a gang-related incident.

Witnesses told police that the suspects fled on foot. The police believe the shooting was gang-related.

Stoudamire rushed to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center where he was not able to see his player, but he talked to Henderson's father.

'I've been better,' Stoudamire said Saturday morning. 'It's just the thought of a kid getting shot, you know? It was a long night.'

Stoudamire said his emotions are ranging between joy that the 6-2, 225-pound Henderson and the others are expected to survive, and bewilderment that something like this happened.

'It's just senseless,' Stoudamire said, adding, 'It's (also) a matter of being glad that BJ's injuries aren't life-threatening and being happy that none of the young men who were shot have any life-threatening injury.'

Football doesn't matter

Several Portland Police officers and Gang Enforcement Team members were at the Jefferson football game.

Stoudamire said he does not believe that moving Jeff games from the night to the afternoon would make any difference.

'I don't think that (the shooting) has anything to do with our games being played at night,' he said. 'It doesn't happen at the game. All of these things don't happen at the school. They happen two, three, four blocks away from the school, where it's hard to control. And there's nothing the school district can do about that.'

Stoudamire said parents have to step up and make sure that their children are safe.

'Parents have to be smarter,' he said. 'Not saying that BJ's dad wasn't aware, because he was around. But you've got to start picking your kids up. There's been a lot of shootings going on this summer. I don't care if my kid is 15, 16, 17 years old, I don't want them catching the bus. Not at 10:30, 11 o'clock at night. I'm going to be at the game and I'm going to take them home. A lot of our young kids just have too much freedom.

'I just don't think that any parents should leave them out at 10, 11 o'clock at night. Especially in an area that's hot for gang violence. As adults, we need to try to be more aware and take more charge of what's going on with our youth.'

As the Demos head into next Friday's game at Bend, they will have to find a player to fill Henderson's spot at linebacker. The players also will have to deal with the emotional trauma of playing a football game knowing that one of their teammates had a gun turned on him.

At this point, though, what happens on the gridiron means very little.

'Football is minor at this point,' Stoudamire said. 'Football doesn't even matter at this point.'