A shooting in Topeka, Kansas, has left a Washburn University football player dead and another former player injured just hours after he was drafted to play for the NFL’s New York Giants.
Dwane Simmons, 23, who was a junior studying mass media, was fatally shot just before 1 a.m. Sunday off campus, police said. Corey Ballentine, 23, a senior and sixth-round NFL pick, suffered a non-life-threatening injury. He is expected to fully recover.
“Dwane is one of the most energetic and well-liked players I have ever coached at Washburn,” the team’s head coach, Craig Schurig, said `in a statement. “Dwane’s infectious smile and love for football and his teammates was truly inspirational.”
University President Dr. Jerry Farley, in a statement to students, termed the violence a “senseless act” amid what “should have been a day of celebration.”
“Both Dwane and Corey have been great examples and representatives of the football team and of Washburn University in general,” he said. “This was a terrible way to end a day which should have been a day of celebration and a day to look forward to Dwane’s upcoming year at Washburn and the beginning of Corey’s professional career.”
As of Sunday afternoon, no arrest had been made in the shooting. Authorities were seeking information about the incident from the public.
Ballentine was the 2018 Cliff Harris award recipient, given to the top defensive player in Division II college football.
On Saturday he tweeted about his NFL selection, describing the news as a dream come true.
“I can’t even explain the emotions I have right now,” he said, adding, “It’s only up from here.”
The New York Giants on Sunday afternoon tweeted that the team has been in contact with Ballentine, who was recovering in a hospital, and that the team’s thoughts are with him, his family and friends.