8th Grade Football Star, Who Already Had College Offers, Shot To Death At Party

Fourteen-year-old Jaylon McKenzie's first word was "ball," his mother said, and he had already received college offers from University of Missouri and University of Illinois.
 

By Gina Tron

A middle school student who had already received offers from colleges because of his football skills was tragically shot to death at a party over the weekend.

Jaylon McKenzie, 14, an eighth grader from Mason Clark Middle School in East St. Louis, Illinois, was shot at a house party late Saturday night in nearby Venice.

His mom, Sukeena Gunner, told NBC-affiliate KSDK in St. Louis that McKenzie was outside trying to leave the party when he was struck by a bullet that was fired after a fight broke out. A 15-year-old girl was also shot.

"Officers immediately began life-saving measures before both victims were transported from the scene to area hospitals," the Illinois State Police said.

McKenzie died shortly after arriving at the hospital.

Jaylon McKenzie

The teen girl remains in critical condition, according to the police.

"My baby had such a promising future," Gunner told KSDK.

He certainly did.

Not only did he have aspirations for being a professional football player, he was even featured in Sports Illustrated's "Future Issue" last year. He already received college offers from University of Missouri and University of Illinois, CNN reports.

Gunner told CNN that her son’s first word was “ball.”

"He just loved the ball. From the moment he was able to walk and catch, he just wanted the ball," she said.

It does not appear that there have been any arrests yet in connection with the shooting.

Anyone with information is urged contact the Illinois State Police Investigations Case Agent Scott Wobbe at 618-381-1467. Callers can remain anonymous.

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