Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will reportedly cover the funeral expenses of a standout football player, 14-year-old Jaylon McKenzie, who was shot and killed by a stray bullet in Venice, Illinois, on Saturday, ESPN reports.
Elliott, who grew up in nearby St. Louis, reached out to the teen’s family after learning about the tragedy.
McKenzie’s mother, Sukeena Gunner, told ESPN her son was leaving a party when a fight broke out. The eighth-grader and a 15-year-old girl were both hit by stray bullets as they attempted to flee. The girl is reportedly still in critical condition.
McKenzie was such an explosive player over the course of his short football career that he received college scholarship offers before he made it into high school. He was selected to compete in the All-American All-Star Game last August.
He was named one of “Six Teens Who Will Rule the Future of Sports” in the November 2018 issue of Sports Illustrated. “Jaylon—who plays running back, receiver and defensive back—drew national attention when he caught five passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns to help the East team to a victory at the NFL’s 8th Grade All-American Game in Canton, Ohio,” the article reported. “Jaylon expects to be playing in the NFL. His dream? To be a star in L.A.—for the Rams or the Chargers.”
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Jasmine Washington is a beauty-obsessed journalist by day and a trap music connoisseur by night. A lifelong New Yorker, she got her start as an intern at the now-defunct Juicy Magazine. Jasmine joined the EBONY.com team as a writer, penning daily stories on all things Black culture and entertainment.