An Arkansas State football player and his stepfather were shot and killed during a Wednesday night home invasion robbery in Jackson, Tenn., according to the local newspaper there.
Arkansas State announced the death of Markel Owens, 21, who was a redshirt junior defensive lineman for the GoDaddy Bowl-champion Red Wolves.
“Our worst fears were realized as an athletics department after being notified early this morning about the unfortunate news about Markel,” A-State athletic director Terry Mohajir said in a statement. “We’re deeply saddened and our utmost sympathies go out to his family, teammates and classmates. Please join me in prayer for so many people who are being impacted by the loss of Markel.”
According to The Jackson Sun, police were called to a duplex in Jackson about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, where Owens’ mother was laying in the front yard with a gunshot wound. Owens and his father, Johnny Shivers, were found with gunshot wounds inside the apartment, and Shivers was apparently deceased on the scene, the newspaper cited police as saying.
Owens was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, the Sun reported. The mother, Chermaine Owens, was treated and released from the hospital.
It added that investigators learned Shivers was rushed by two masked men and forced inside the apartment as he was arriving home. Owens reportedly helped Shivers and began fighting one of the men. Owens and Shivers reportedly were shot during the struggle.
Jackson Police Capt. Tyreece Miller told the Sun that Owens should be regarded as a hero.
“Markel was a part of our Red Wolves family, and it is obvious he was a well-liked and respected member of our team who will be missed,” A-State coach Blake Anderson said in a statement. “We are doing everything possible to comfort his teammates, and we extend our compassion to his family during this difficult time.”
Listed as 6-feet-2, 303 pounds, Owens would have turned 22 on Feb. 26, according to his A-State bio.