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Looking over the No. 17 Ichabod jersey, the group of mostly tall, sturdy athletes embraced each other. Some cried, others stared. A bright scoreboard displayed a photograph of their slain teammate, Dwane Simmons.
When you finish your draft and stress how you went out of your way to take the right kind of guys, guys that you want on the team, guys that are going to be great character guys and you stress that as strongly as the Giants did, it looks pretty bad when one of them gets shot on a Saturday night,” Francesa said, according to the popular @BackAftaThis Twitter account that chronicles the hosts comments and activities. “It does not look good. Its just more of the same for the Giants, who just cant get out of their own way, no matter what they say. . . . Its sad to see the Giants become a laughingstock that they have around the league.”
The solemn moment came as hundreds of people gathered at Washburn University in Topeka to remember 23-year-old Simmons, who was gunned down Sunday at an off-campus party. The shooting also injured his roommate and close friend, Corey Ballentine, a 23-year-old senior and recent New York Giants draft pick.
2 young adults from the KC area, both standout athletes, shot & killed less than 2 hours apart
During the vigil, which began indoors, the colleges football coach, Craig Schurig, said the football field was Simmons piece of heaven. The coach compared Simmons to the candles carried by mourners, saying he shined the light on everybody.
Giants rookie cornerback Corey Ballantine was shot on the night he became a sixth-round draft pick. His father has reacted strongly to the efforts of a prominent New York radio host to add insult to injury, literally.
Schurig described Simmons as a determined young man who joined his team without a scholarship, something he later earned. When Simmons suffered his second injury, which could have ended a career, he told his coach within minutes: Ill be back.
In his 25 years of coaching, Schurig said, he has gotten to know many players. But Simmons was close to his heart. He made friends across teams.
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He knows way more people than I know in this town, Schurig, who has been at Washburn for 17 years, told the crowd. You walk across campus, people knew Dwane, and they loved him.
Ballentine and Simmons were out celebrating the 23-year-old cornerback being selected as the 180th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on Saturday. The former teammates left the party about 12:45 a.m. Sunday near the school’s campus in Topeka and were stopped by two to four men asking “if they had a smoke,” Simmons’ father, Navarro Simmons, told FOX4KC.
The gunfire erupted about 12:45 a.m. Sunday in the 1400 block of Southwest 13th Street, a few blocks from the universitys campus. Ballentine was hospitalized and was expected to make a full recovery.
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Simmons family has 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.
"He's a really bright kid and he's a great kid," Gettleman said. "What happened is tragic and unfortunate. That's his best friend he was with. We spoke to him on Sunday. He's coming along fine. He'll be here Thursday for the minicamp this weekend."
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When Simmons joined the football team, Schurig told Simmons father, Navarro Simmons, he would keep his son safe.
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This was a senseless murder, Navarro Simmons said Sunday as more than two dozen family members gathered at the southeast Kansas City home of Simmons mother. This shattered a lot of people.
Topeka police have released few details on the shooting, but said they were questioning more than 20 potential witnesses Monday in hopes of catching the killer. Ballentine was also asked about the incident, but authorities said they intend to conduct a longer interview.
Schurig said Simmons death hit him in the gut. No one, he said, can wrap themselves around it.
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Many of the universitys athletes live in an area they now call Washburn north. The community and school together, Schurig said, need to protect students.
We have been in communication with Corey since Sunday, the statement read. We have encouraged Corey to stay in Kansas this week to be with his family and friends as they mourn the loss and celebrate the life of his good friend and teammate Dwane Simmons. Corey will be with us when its appropriate.
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Alvin Houston, a defensive back for the Washburn Ichabods, told Navarro Simmons his son, who stood 5 feet 9 inches and weighed 170 pounds, wanted to be as strong as him in the weight room. His teammates knew that wouldnt happen, Houston said to laughter.
Football players will wear Simmons number during games, the coach said. The university plans to create a scholarship in his name.
To offset funeral and memorial expenses, Washburn Athletics and Vision Bank set up a GoFundMe page for the Simmons family. As of Tuesday night, the page had raised $270 of its $2,500 goal.
Donations can also be made at the banks locations at 3031 SW Wanamaker Road or 712 S. Kansas Ave, the university said
How did Giants GM Dave Gettleman do with 10 picks, including 3 first-rounders, in 2019 NFL Draft? This could be the class that shapes his legacy. Reactions are all over the place.
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Pastor T.D. Hicks, a member of the Ichabod coaching staff, told students it was OK for them to shed tears. But he called for action, saying Simmons death could help bring change to the Topeka community. He demanded anyone with information call authorities.
If you were at the party and you know something, say something, Hicks said to applause. Im tired of senseless killing.
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.