Stray bullet slays Illinois hoops standout

A standout teenage basketball player from Hillcrest High School in Country Club Hills, Ill., was fatally shot Sunday outside a 16-year-old’s birthday party.

Witnesses said Ryan Royall, 17, was hit by a stray bullet that came from a group of people fighting in a parking lot outside an event hall in Lynwood, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Friends said Royall was preparing to get in his car and drive away when he was shot in the back shortly before 1 a.m.

He was taken to Franciscan St. Margaret Health Hospital in nearby Dyer, Ind., and was pronounced dead at 1:21 a.m. authorities said.

Lake County (Ind.) Deputy Coroner Pam Nauracy said after an autopsy on Sunday morning Royall’s death was ruled a homicide, the Chicago Sun Times reported.

Another teen was shot in the leg and taken to the hospital after the party for a 16-year-old, which was attended by 300 to 500 guests.

Hillcrest coach Don Houston said Royall was expected to be one of his top players this year.

"Ryan was one of my leading players, an all-conference guy. Just a tough kid on the court," Houston said.

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