TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The father of a Washburn University football player who was killed in a weekend shootout in which a New York Giants recruit was injured said the crime "destroyed a lot of people."
Navarro Simmons (CNN VAN)
Navarro Simmons said his family learned from detectives that his son, Dwane Simmons, and his son's friend, cornerback Corey Ballentine, were about to leave an off-campus party on Sunday when a vehicle stopped. He said the people inside asked a question and then started shooting.
Dwane Simmons was killed and Ballentine, who was recruited only a few hours earlier, was taken to the hospital, where he was in stable condition.
"This was a senseless murder," said Navarro Simmons at a Sunday meeting of more than two dozen family and friends in Kansas City. "This destroyed a lot of people."
Gretchen Koenen, a police spokeswoman, said in an email on Monday that no arrests had been made. She said investigators have been talking to some of the dozens of people who were at the party and expect to interview more. The police have not disclosed a possible motive or said whether they have identified any suspects.
"We want to emphasize that we need those who were present to let us know what they saw," Koenen said.
Ballentine, who the Giants recruited in the sixth round on Saturday, is recovering. Although the authorities have not revealed the nature of their injuries, the university issued a statement saying that the 23-year-old Topeka native is expected to recover completely. Washburn scheduled a press conference for Sunday for Ballentine to discuss the draft, but canceled it hastily after he was shot. It has not been rescheduled and the university is not planning a press conference.
Craig Schurig, head coach of the Division II program, said Simmons' death is heartbreaking. He said Simmons, a 23-year-old from Lee's Summit, Missouri, maintained a great attitude, even while fighting for two knee injuries. The team met on Sunday to mourn the defeat.
Simmons told The Topeka Capital-Journal last fall how his injuries had affected his outlook.
"It's more than a game for me now," Simmons said. "I went on foot and I had to get a scholarship, then I ripped an ACL, I wrote the essay and I ripped another. It really puts everything in perspective that this game can be removed from you in the blink of an eye. So I take this game seriously. I get excited about this and I take this game very, very seriously, and I'm having a great time. "
The Giants issued a statement on Sunday saying the team was aware of the shooting and was gathering information about it.
"We've talked to Corey, and he's recovering in the hospital. "Our thoughts are with the family, friends and teammates of Dwane Simmons and the rest of the Washburn community," the team said.
Ballentine played in 46 games for the Ichabods, finishing with 186 tackles, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and five interceptions. He blocked four kicks and averaged 24.81 yards in kickoff returns.