NFL Draft Pick Shot Just Hours After Being Drafted
Topeka, KS – A former college football player was shot just hours after he was drafted by the New York Giants on Saturday afternoon.
His 23-year-old teammate, Washburn University junior Dwane Simmons, was killed in the same early-morning attack, WIBW reported.
Corey Ballentine, 23, was selected by the Giants during the sixth round of the National Football League (NFL) draft, according to WJAX.
The incident occurred as Ballentine and Simmons were celebrating at a party outside a residence in the 1400-block of 13th Street at approximately 12:45 a.m. on Sunday, according to WIBW.
The unnamed gunman opened fire, striking Ballentine and Simmons, who was ultimately pronounced dead at the scene.
Ballentine suffered non-life threatening injuries, and was rushed to a local hospital in a private vehicle, police said.
He is expected to make a “full recovery,” Washburn University President Dr. Jerry Farley said in a press release on Sunday.
The gunman’s identity has not been released, and it is unknown whether or not anyone has been apprehended in connection with the shooting, WIBW reported.
Farley called the attack a “senseless act,” and extended his sympathies to Simmons’ family.
“Both Dwane and Corey have been great examples and representatives of the football team and of Washburn University in general,” Farley said in the press release. “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.”
Washburn University head football coach Craig Schurig said that Simmons was a valued member of the team who inspired those around him.
"Heartbreaking news about Dwane Simmons," Schurig said in a press release on Sunday. "Dwane is one of the most energetic and well-liked players I have ever coached at Washburn.”
“Dwane's infectious smile and love for football and his teammates was truly inspirational,” Schurig added. “Our prayers of healing go out to his family, his parents Navarro and Yasmine Simmons and Chaquilla Williams."
The New York Giants also released a statement in the wake of the attack.
“We are aware of the tragic situation and continue to gather information,” the team said. “We have spoken to Corey, and he is recovering in the hospital. Our thoughts are with Dwane Simmons’ family, friends and teammates and the rest of the Washburn community.”