An Arkansas State football player who was trying to shield his family from robbers was shot to death, along with his stepfather, the New York Daily News reports.
Markel Owens, a 21-year-old junior defensive lineman for the Red Wolves, was fatally shot along with Johnny Shivers, 36, during the robbery at a duplex in Jackson, Tenn., the Daily News reports.
Shivers died at the scene. Owens was taken to Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
A 37-year-old woman was also shot during the robbery at the family's home, and the Daily News reports that she is Shivers' wife and Owens' mother. The woman's name was not released but it was reported that she was treated at the hospital.
Investigators told the Daily News that Shivers was arriving home when two masked men rushed him and forced their way inside the apartment. Owens and his mother were already inside when the suspects burst in, demanding money. A struggle began, with Owens attempting to help Shivers by fighting one of the men, police said and the Daily News reports.
During the struggle, Shivers and Owens were both shot, and one of the gunmen then shot the woman. The suspects got away with a large amount of cash, police said.
"I think you can conclude that he was protecting his mother and stepfather," Jackson police spokesman Tyreece Miller said of Owens.
Investigators, who discovered a large amount of marijuana inside the apartment, believe that Shivers was specifically targeted. While the motive remains under investigation, police believe the robbers knew that drugs, money or both were in the apartment, the Daily News reports.
"Markel was a part of our Red Wolves family, and it is obvious he was a well-liked and respected member of our team who will be missed," said Blake Anderson, who was named the new head coach of Arkansas State last month. "We are doing everything possible to comfort his teammates, and we extend our compassion to his family during this difficult time."
Read more at New York Daily News.