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Shooting at Orchard Park sports facility sparks chaos

The sign outside Frank Young's Sports Arena reads, "Make your next event a sporting one."

But an event at the Orchard Park venue that began late Saturday night got out of hand when the owner, Frank Young, allowed an outside promoter to host a large party there with a live deejay and $10 admission.

A 21-year-old woman from New York City was shot in the leg at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, according to Orchard Park police. The victim was taken to Erie County Medical Center. Further information in the shooting was unavailable later Sunday.

Police said when officers arrived at the facility at 3651 N. Buffalo Road early Sunday, hundreds of people were trying to flee on foot and in vehicles. Several vehicles collided while trying to leave.

Outside, the scene was pandemonium as officers dealt with hundreds of vehicles driving across lawns, through chain fencing and with total disregard for vehicle and traffic laws, police said.  Officers also coped with a disorderly crowd waiting for rides and standing on top of parked vehicles, police added.

Additional officers from the West Seneca and Hamburg departments were called to the scene to assist with the large crowd. It took more than an hour to clear the scene of bystanders, police said.

"It (the party) got away from us," said Young later Sunday.

More than 500 people were at the party, police said. But Young disputed the estimates, saying there were about 300 people in attendance and that the building's capacity is 465 people.

"Our surveillance cameras will verify we weren't over code," said Young, who has owned the sports venue for 13 years.

Orchard Park police said that when they became aware of the event days before it was held, Young was notified that the legal crowd limit for the building was just over 300 people. Flyers advertising the event – dubbed "2 Brauds Takeover" - had noted the building could hold more than 800 people.

Both the police officials and building inspectors for the town had several talks with Young, who was urged to abide by all occupancy regulations and other building codes, police said.

Liquor bottles and other alcoholic beverage containers were found in and around the building, and there is no liquor license for the property, according to police, who said the case will be referred to the State Liquor Authority.

Young, who said he did not see people consuming alcohol, added that he was skeptical about allowing the party, which had been scheduled to be held from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.

"It's kind of a late time to have an event starting at 11 p.m.," Young said.

In addition, he and five of his staffers were at the scene of the party and the promoter had security people at the site, as well.

"They were patting people down and checking ID," said Young. "Somebody got by them."

The sports complex is surrounded by other businesses, including a gas station, pizzeria, an exterminating company, a pet funeral home and a fencing company.

Young said the only trouble he previously encountered was an unruly teen rollerskating or a floor or roller hockey player – and those episodes have been infrequent.

"Nothing that would upset anybody," he said. But Saturday's event was the first – and likely the last – time he will allow an outside promoter to hold a similar event at his place ever again, Young said.

An investigation is continuing and charges are pending, police said.

Police are asking anyone with information to call 662-6444.

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