Randallstown is a middle-class suburb northwest of Baltimore. The high school, with 1,500 students, is on Offutt Road, a long residential street with brick ranch-style homes lining either side.

The basketball game is an annual college scholarship fund-raiser organized by Zirkin. Each year, Zirkin gives out 10 scholarships worth $500 each to Randallstown High seniors who plan to attend an in-state college or university.

Zirkin said he, County Councilman John A. Olszewski Sr. of Dundalk and other current and former politicians and staffers from around the state played a team of faculty members from the school.

Police and witnesses said the shooting apparently did not stem from anything related to the game. "The speculation is that it was a neighborhood argument," said county police spokesman Bill Toohey.

According to Toohey, a car with four men pulled into the parking lot just before 4:30 p.m. The driver, a heavyset man, got out of the vehicle and begin shooting a semiautomatic handgun into the crowd.

He got back into the car and handed the gun to the front-seat passenger, who got out and began shooting, Toohey said.

The car then drove away, leaving one suspect, who ran off.

Latea Bell, the student witness, gave a slightly different account. She said Randallstown football players were arguing with guys who do not attend the school when someone punched a football player.

"One guy punched another guy, and all the friends just joined in," said Bell, who estimated that 20 people were fighting. The brawl ended when shots were fired.

Bell said the dispute between football players and others began the day before when there was a fight in school.

Principal Evans said the dispute might have evolved from an altercation earlier in the week in the school cafeteria.

The school has surveillance cameras outside, one of which overlooks the parking lot. But police said the camera was not working yesterday.

Within an hour of the shooting, police found an expensive black BMW several miles away that fit the description of the car witnesses said the shooters were using.

The car was registered to a company that police would not name. It was not reported stolen.

Police found one suspect shirtless inside a nearby sports apparel store in the 100 block of Reisterstown Road, where he was apparently trying to buy a T-shirt.

A man working at Activewear Outfitters, who would not give his name, said the suspect came inside the store out of breath and went straight to a rack of shirts in the back of the store.

By the time he came to the counter to pay for the shirt, the employee said, police officers were outside and ordered him to come out and lie on the ground.

The suspect surrendered without incident. His identity was not released.

As night fell, family, friends and classmates of the victims gathered at the hospitals.

"I was saying to myself, 'It wasn't him, it wasn't him.' But it was him," said Emanuel Capers, Brown's cousin.

Capers said Brown plans to attend Hampton University next fall.

He hoped to be a member of the school's basketball team.

Nearly 100 distraught, anxious relatives, teachers and coaches paced the hospital hallways.

One football coach was reading aloud from the 23rd Psalm: "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. ... "

"We're all family," said Kenneth Hannah Jr., 17.

"We're with them the whole way."