Jaylon McKenzie, an eighth-grade football club who has already commissioned university campuses, was shot dead outside a party this weekend, police said.
The 14-year-old rising star attended a party near his hometown in southern Illinois on Saturday when he was hit by stray dogs, the authorities said Sunday.
The police said they had been shot and killed at around 11:40 pm for a "big party" in Venice, Illinois, near the Illinois-Missouri border, according to the Illinois State Police.
Officials came to the scene to find the young Jaylon and another teenager, a 15-year-old woman suffering from gunshot wounds, police said.
Both were taken to a local hospital where Jaylon died shortly thereafter. The other victim was in critical condition from Sunday afternoon.
Witnesses said that the teens tried to escape the chaos when the shots were fired. The tragic news followed Jaylon's big moment in Sports Illustrated, where he was recently named as one of six young athletes who would rule the sport's future.
Officers in Jaylon's school district confirmed that some of their students had been shot dead late Saturday night at a house party in Venice.
"Only a few details are clear at this time, and we know that our youth, our families and our school staff have dealt with a series of tragedies and violence this year," the East St. Louis School District 189 said in one Sunday statement. "We demand time and space for them to adequately combat and manage these recent effects of violence."
The district said crisis teams would be in sight in the coming days to help students cope with the tragic news.
"Crisis teams will be present at schools in the coming days to offer students guidance and support staff at this difficult time," said the statement. "We send our prayers to the families affected by this violence and hope for healing for the victims."
Jaylon and his mother, Sukeena Gunner, recently announced via social media that the young athlete had already received college offerings from the University of Missouri and the University of Illinois earlier this year. He said his dream was to "make the NFL" and play for the Los Angeles Rams or Chargers.
"An eighth-grader at Central Junior High, Jaylon – who runs back, plays a receiver and a defensive back – attracted national attention He got five passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns to give the East team the 8th All in August -American Game of the NFL in Canton, Ohio, to enable a victory. "Sports Illustrated wrote in" Six Teens Who Rule the Future in "sporting goods in November. "Last year, Jaylon stormed 1,546 yards and 21 TDs for his youth football team, the East St. Louis Jr. Flyers."
"He hopes to follow in the footsteps of Titans cornerback Adoree & # 39; Jackson, a star at the USC who also comes from the suburb of St. Louis in Belleville and also played both ways," he added ,
The NFL star responded to the news on Twitter.
Other high school football coaches in the region also expressed their condolences.