Police were still on the lookout for suspects Friday after a 17-year-old boy who was in town to visit friends was gunned down after a large fight was reported on a busy St. Paul street the night before.

Shortly before 9:30 p.m. Thursday, officers responded to a call of a large fight involving dozens of people near Payne and Case avenues, on the city's East Side, police spokesman Howie Padilla said.

According to a neighborhood resident who did not want to be identified for safety reasons, a group was gathered near a ­grocery store on Payne when some members of the group started to chase about three of the people. One ran toward the Salvation Army parking lot on Payne and Lawson avenues when the resident heard a shot.

He said the teen yelled, "They shot me! They shot me! I'm hit."

The resident said he called police and tried to comfort the young man, who appeared to be shot in the back. He was taken to Regions Hospital, where he died.

Police said there had been an earlier fight in the area Thursday night. It's unknown if the two incidents are related. Police don't believe that the shooting is random.

Friends on Friday identified the 17-year-old victim as Vince "Mo" Allison of Gary, Ind.

Friends said Allison had lived in the Twin Cities and was back for a visit. He liked to play basketball and football.

"He was a cool person," said Tone Davis, 19. "He wanted to get up out of here."

The shooting occurred in an area of the East Side where police are targeting youth who wander the streets in groups as large as 20 or 30 late at night. The Safe Summer Initiative was launched by police and other partners last year as a curfew enforcement program and was expanded this summer to more of the East Side and some parts of ­Frogtown.

"We have a very high youth population in this neighborhood," said Leslie McMurray, executive ­director of the Payne Phalen District 5 Council.

More resources and activities are needed for teens and young adults in the area, she said.

Police are asking anyone with information to call Homicide Unit at 651-266-5650.