When Corey Ballentine called Dwane Simmons father early Sunday morning to tell him about the shooting, the father prayed his sons injuries were minor.
Navarro Simmons was scared as he drove from Kansas City to Topeka. He hoped his son was shot in the leg, that he would find him in surgery at the hospital. He expected to see him alive.
I wouldve never had thought … Simmons mother, Chaquilla Everett, started to say hours later.
Simmons, a 23-year-old Washburn University football player from Lees Summit, was killed in the shooting at an off-campus party in Topeka. The gunfire also injured his roommate and close friend, Ballentine, a 23-year-old senior and recent New York Giants draft pick.
NFL Draft pick Corey Ballentine injured in shooting that left university team-mate dead
This was a senseless murder, Navarro Simmons said as more than two dozen family members and friends gathered at the southeast Kansas City home of Simmons mother Sunday afternoon. This shattered a lot of people.
Gunman on the loose in shooting of NFL draft pick
The gunfire erupted about 12:45 a.m. Sunday in the 1400 block of Southwest 13th Street, a few blocks from the universitys campus. Simmons died from his injuries. Ballentine was hospitalized and the university said he was expected to make a full recovery.
The family said they learned from detectives that Simmons and Ballentine were about to leave the party, put on by the colleges womens soccer team, with other football players when a vehicle pulled up and the people inside asked them a question. When the car circled back, someone inside started shooting, Navarro Simmons said.
Todd Ashley, 24, was home when his sister called him Sunday morning with the news that his close cousin was killed.
He described Simmons, who he grew up with, as a ray of light. He wished others lived life like his outgoing cousin.
The college junior was killed at an off-campus party, according to authorities. His close friend, Ballentine, 23, a senior, was wounded and is expected to make a full recovery. Ballentine was picked in the sixth round of the NFL draft.
Video: NFL Draft pick Corey Ballentine injured and teammate Dwane Simmons killed in shooting
Giants sixth-round pick Corey Ballentine was shot on Sunday morning
Family members described Simmons as an energetic junior in college with an infectious smile who had dreams of playing in the NFL or anywhere that would have him. A 2014 graduate of Lees Summit West High School, where he holds a record in track and field, Simmons studied mass media at Washburn in the hopes of covering sports if playing professional football did not pan out.
Simmons played defensive back for the Washburn Ichabods beginning in 2015 when he started nine games as a redshirt freshman.
Corey Ballentine, the New York Giants sixth-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft, has been injured in a shooting that left one of his university team-mates dead.
He sat out the 2016 season and appeared in two games in 2017 before suffering a season-ending injury. Last season, he started six games and appeared in all 11. Simmons returned from two knee injuries. His father called him resilient for it.
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Simmons loved to make people laugh and was the life of any party, something he got from his father, family said. The charismatic athlete also loved to dance, something he got from his mother. Everett recalled how her son, the oldest of six, danced with relatives during his sisters 21st birthday party, scuffing up the hardwood floors.
Navarro Simmons knows the hardest part of the grieving process will begin when everyone has gone home, when he is in a quiet room by himself.
His sons killing is not the familys first tragedy: In 2000, Navarro Simmons brother, Michael Simmons, 19, was fatally shot during an attempted carjacking in south Kansas City. His killer is serving a life sentence.
Michael Simmons took Dwane to a movie shortly before he was killed. Though he was young, Dwane Simmons was close with his uncle, whose name he got tattooed on one of his arms as motivation, family members said.
Details are sketchy, but WIBWs Tyler Greever reports that the two men were close and Simmons Twitter feed Saturday was filled with tweets about Ballentine. Officers were summoned to the scene of the shooting at about 12:45 a.m. Central time, and the station reports that Simmons died at the scene.
Navarro Simmons now knows how his mother felt when his brother was killed. She had wished Michael Simmons had children she could watch grow, so she could see him in them.
Video: New York Giants draft pick shot, college teammate killed
While he was aggressive on the field, Simmons would not have hurt a fly off it, said his stepfather, Corey Everett. Family members wanted people to know their loved one was not a gang member and didnt get into trouble.
NFL draft pick doing as good as can be expected after shooting, father says
Navarro Simmons helped his son move apartments Friday. In a Facebook video Saturday, the elder Simmons congratulated Ballentine, a defensive back, on getting drafted by the New York Giants as the 180th overall pick.
Washburns head football coach, Craig Schurig, said Simmons death was heartbreaking. In a statement, he described the shooting as a terrible way to end a day that should have been spent celebrating.
Ballentine plays at cornerback and was selected in the sixth round by the Giants on Saturday, shortly before the shooting. Our thoughts are with Dwane Simmons family, friends and teammates and the rest of the Washburn community, the Giants said in a statement.
Dwane is one of the most energetic and well-liked players I have ever coached at Washburn, Schurig said, calling his love for football and his teammates truly inspirational.
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Before the shooting, as he helped his son move, Navarro Simmons shared an intimate moment with his son. It was a happy time. The two prayed, and Navarro Simmons reminded Dwane of how proud he was of him. Before long, he would move on to the next chapter of his life.
“Both Dwane and Corey have been great examples and representatives of the football team and of Washburn University in general,” Farley 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 Dwanes upcoming year at Washburn and the beginning of Coreys professional career.”
Now, instead of video calls from his son, Navarro Simmons phone rang repeatedly Sunday afternoon from relatives and reporters, including one from The New York Times, hoping to talk to him.
Washburn University Football Player Killed, NY Giants Draftee Injured In Shooting
Simmons sister, 22-year-old Damesha Simmons, placed her head on her fathers shoulder. Tears rolled down her face.
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You hurt a lot of people, Navarro Simmons said of whoever pulled the trigger. Turn yourself in.
Police asked anyone with information about the shooting to call the Topeka Criminal Investigation Bureau at 785-368-9400 or the Shawnee County Crime Stoppers at 785-234-0007. Anonymous tips can be made online at p3tips.com/128.
Washburn Footballs Simmons killed, Ballentine injured in shooting
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) — Former Washburn Ichabod football player Corey Ballentine paid tribute to his one-time teammate and “true friend,” Dwane Simmons, in his first public statement since Simmons was killed and Ballentine was injured in a central Topeka shooting over the weekend.
Giants draft pick Corey Ballentine shot hours after selection, college teammate killed
God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers. I love you forever, Ballentine said in at tweet Monday afternoon.
NFL draft pick shot hours after being selected by New York Giants
Thank you for being a true friend who uplifted me, corrected me when I was in the wrong, and accepted my flaws, he continued. Thank you for being a brother to me. Thank you for letting me experience your life”.
BREAKING: Giants Draft Pick Corey Ballentine Shot and Injured Sunday Morning
Ballentine suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the Sunday morning shooting during a party near SW 13th and Lane St. Washburn University said he is expected to recover.
NFL player Corey Ballentine shot in Kansas just hours after being drafted by New York Giants
No one has been arrested in connection with his death. Topeka Police are encouraging anyone who was there to call investigators at 785-368-9400, or Shawnee Co. Crime Stoppers at 785-234-0007. Tips to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous.
God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers. I love you forever. Thank you for being a true friend who uplifted me, corrected me when i was in the wrong, and accepted my flaws. Thank you for being a brother to me. Thank you for letting me experience your life�� pic.twitter.com/SfqX9v6qgY