A promising college football recruit was fatally shot at a hotel in Dallas, police and relatives said.
Tony Evans Jr., a 17-year-old senior wide receiver at Lancaster High School in Texas, was pronounced dead at a hospital after he was wounded early Sunday inside a room at the Hawthorn Suites in Dallas, police said in a statement.
Evans, who was set to join the University of Wyoming’s football team next season, was gunned down by an unknown suspect inside room 221 at the hotel. A motive in the slaying is unclear, police said.
Another person who was not identified by police was also shot during the incident, the Dallas Morning News reported. That victim was in stable condition, the newspaper reported Sunday.
Evans’ mother, Aretha Evans, told the newspaper her son was a devout Christian who was determined to succeed on and off the football field.
“We are on an emotional rollercoaster,” Evans told the newspaper. “Our son’s life was abruptly ended. We have been left broken-hearted. Pray for us to have strength as we prepare to lay our beloved Tony Evans Jr. to rest.”
Evans, who was raised in Lancaster, tallied 13 catches for 268 yards and four touchdowns at Lancaster High School last season. He was prepping to join the Wyoming Cowboys after signing a letter of intent in February, the Dallas Morning News reported.
“He wanted everything to work out,” Evans’ friend, Rodney Hudson, told the newspaper. “And he was going to have a breakout season. That’s what he did. Whatever he told me, he did.”
Hudson said the outgoing, funny teen left a mark on whomever he met.
“There was nothing fake out him, he’s real,” said Hudson, who last spoke to Evans about a month ago. “Even though he was playful, he’s real. That love that he showed is real. I just want people to know that.”
Wyoming’s football program tweeted an image of Evans’ No. 19 jersey on Monday while saying the team was grieving the teen’s tragic death.
“Our hearts are with the Evans family as they go through this incredibly difficult time,” UW’s football coach, Craig Bohl, said in a statement. “We are so sad to hear of Tony’s passing. We have been in contact with Tony’s family and are here to support them in anyway we can.”
No arrests had been announced in the ongoing investigation as of noon Monday.
A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and indictment in Evans’ shooting death. Anyone with additional details on the homicide should call Dallas police at (214) 671-3646.