Dick Vitale Pays for Murdered Girl's Cemetery Plot

Colin LinneweberSenior Writer ISeptember 15, 2009

ST PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 19:  Dick Vitale cheers during game seven of the American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays during the 2008 MLB playoffs on October 19, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Famed ESPN college basketball sportscaster Dick Vitale has decided to pay the costs of a cemetery plot for a high school student who was inexplicably murdered last week outside of Southeast High School in Bradenton, FL.


According to authorities, Daniel Floyd Williams, 18, approached a vehicle idled in the school’s parking lot with four girls inside of it and asked for one of the females to give him a "Lewinsky."


The girls flatly denied Williams’ lewd request for fellatio.


Williams momentarily retreated before he walked back, pulled out a gun and fired four shots at the car.


Jasmine Thompson, a 17-year-old cheerleader who planned to study criminal law in college, was struck by one of the bullets and she died almost instantly from her wound.


“Here’s a 17-year-old girl, Jasmine Thompson, who really did nothing wrong in her life except for being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Vitale, 70, told the New York Daily News last week.


Vitale, a resident of nearby Lakewood Ranch who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last September, continued.


“A senseless killing.  As a dad and somebody who has five grandchildren, to have so close to home something like that happen, it just shakes you.”


Vitale said he is not acting in such a generous manner to gain positive publicity.


The legendary New Jersey basketball coach, and onetime leader of the Detroit Pistons, stated he was informed that Thompson’s family would have trouble financing the funeral arrangements.


“I don’t need the publicity,” said Vitale.  “From what I understand, the costs of the funeral would make it tough on the family.  The state will take care of a good portion.  I’m simply going to take care of the cemetery plot, about $1,500.”


In addition to funding the cemetery plot, “Dickie V” is going to establish a scholarship in the name of Thompson and Dejuan Williams, another adolescent who was recently slain by gun violence.


“What I’m really looking for—it’s two quality young kids who lost their lives, she was dreaming of being a criminal lawyer, the other was dreaming about college—I let the principal know, I’d like to start a scholarship in both kids’ names at the school to continue their legacy,” said Vitale.


“I’ll kick it off with a donation of $1,000 and then I am asking people to make donations, send them to the principal’s office at Bayshore High.  I love young kids.  I’ve been blessed in my career.  If you can’t reach out and help somebody in need…That’s what life’s all about.”


If the world were filled with more people like Richard J. “Dick” Vitale, life would be a more humane and beautiful existence.


Vitale is simply a great man and person, “baby.”