Markel Owens, a backup defensive lineman at Arkansas State University, was one of two men killed in a shooting in Jackson, Tenn., on Jan. 15. He was 21.
Jordan Buie of the Jackson Sun first reported the shootings, which took place Wednesday night around 9:30 p.m. Jerry Scott, Arkansas State's sports information director, confirmed Thursday, Jan. 16, to Kurt Voigt and Adrian Sainz of the Associated Press that Owens had died.
Updates from Saturday, Jan. 18
The Associated Press reports that a second man has been charged in Owens' death:
A second man has been arrested and charged with the shooting death of Arkansas State football player Markel Owens and his stepfather in Tennessee.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Seth Bruce says investigators found Johnny Wade in Ripley, Tenn., on Saturday. Bruce says investigators found two handguns inside the house where Wade was staying.
Scott called the news a "sad day" for the university, and the Red Wolves' official Twitter feed sent out a message offering their thoughts and prayers to Owens' loved ones:
Today is a tough day for the Red Wolves family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Markel Owens' family and friends at this difficult time.— Arkansas St Football (@RedWolvesFBall) January 16, 2014
Multiple teammates also used Twitter to express their sadness and honor their fallen teammate:
RIP to markel owens man the worlds a messed up place......— Trent Waters (@BaseGod__3) January 16, 2014
This guy always had my back imma miss you bro. This program won't stop grinding to make you proud up there. #BCS— Cameron Birse (@ChuckBirse) January 16, 2014
Owens, a redshirt junior, recorded four total tackles in 2013 and typically played defensive tackle when on the field. The Arkansas State defense helped the Red Wolves go 7-5 during the regular season and close out their 2013 campaign with a victory in the GoDaddy Bowl against Ball State. It was the second time in as many seasons Arkansas State won the GoDaddy Bowl and its third straight appearance in the contest.
Overall, Owens recorded 12 tackles during his career. He would've been a redshirt senior next season.
Details of the shooting are still scant as this time, but the other victim was revealed to be Johnny Shivers, 36. He was married to Owens' mother, who was also wounded in the incident, but survived.
According to an AP report from Kurt Voigt and Adrian Sainz, two masked men forced their way into the apartment demanding money. Owens and his stepfather were attempting to fight off the men when the shootings took place. The report says drugs may have been a motive for the attempted robbery:
Investigators say they believe Shivers was specifically targeted and police also discovered a large amount of marijuana inside the apartment. While the motive remains under investigation, police believe the robbers knew that drugs, money or both were in the apartment.
Police were also investigating whether the shooter was injured in the altercation. No arrests have been made at this time.
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