A college football player is in custody in connection with the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old girl through her bedroom window.
William Riley Gaul, 18, of Maryville College, Tennessee, was taken into custody Tuesday night and charged with first-degree murder in Emma Walker’s death, the Knoxville Sheriff’s Department announced.
Emma, who was a cheerleader at Knoxville Central High School, was found dead from a gunshot wound inside her home Monday morning, authorities said.
“Evidence at the scene indicated that the suspect fired into her bedroom from outside her house while she slept,” the sheriff’s department stated in a release.
A Twitter account appearing to belong to Gaul expressed love for the slain teen just hours after her death.
“I love you Emma, I can’t be around any of that yet, it’s too soon. I know you know I’m dying to be there but understand I can’t. I love you,” one post read.
Photos posted to social media show the two teens together, though it’s not immediately clear whether they were in a relationship at the time of Emma’s death. Acquaintances of the teens told WBIR-TV that they were boyfriend and girlfriend.
According to Maryville College’s website, Gaul graduated from Central High School before joining the college’s football team as a wide receiver.
A Facebook page appearing to belong to him lists him as starting school at Maryville College, which is about 18 miles south of Knoxville, in August.
According to a YouCaring fundraiser that’s raising funds toward Emma’s memorial, Emma wanted to be a nurse.
Gaul is being held on a $750,000 bond in the Knox County Jail.