Two teenagers are facing murder charges in the shooting death of a Georgia high school football star following a fight outside a Dave & Buster’s, according to police.
Elijah DeWitt, a standout receiver for Jefferson High School, was gunned down outside the chain restaurant in the parking lot of the Sugarloaf Mills Mall Wednesday, according to local reports. The 18-year-old was found dead around 8 p.m. after police rushed to the scene to reports of person shot, authorities said.
Two days later, Gwinnett police said Kemare Bryan, 18, and Chandler Richardson, 19, were arrested in South Carolina and charged with felony murder, as well as other crimes connected to the shooting that the victim’s team said left them “heartbroken.”
“The Jefferson High School Football program is heartbroken as we mourn the loss of one of our own, Elijah DeWitt,” the team said in a tweet.
“The DeWitt family is in our thoughts and prayers. We appreciate your understanding as we respect the family’s privacy during this time.”
DeWitt was a senior whose Twitter page is filled with shared videos of his highlights and impressive stats on the gridiron.
Police said detectives are working to find a motive for the tragic violence, but noted “it appears that the suspects and the victim were familiar with each other and when they encountered each other in the parking lot, an altercation took place and then the shooting.”
DeWitt’s mother claimed to Fox 5 a botched robbery attempt while her son was out with his girlfriend led to his slaying.
“I want him to be remembered as a fierce competitor with a very large heart,” Dawn DeWitt said during a vigil Sunday, calling the death of her son “definitely the worst day of my life.”
About 100 people attended the vigil to mourn the young life lost, the TV station reported.
His father, Craig DeWitt, said he forgave the two murder suspects who live in Georgia.
“Forgiveness is for the forgiver. We don’t want the hate in this household,” he told Fox 5.
Bryan and Richardson also face charges of malice murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm during the commission of certain felonies, Gwinnett police said. The pair were expected to be extradited to Georgia Monday.
Calls to 911 in the aftermath of the shooting last week painted a chaotic scene, according to 11 Alive News.
A young woman can be heard sobbing in the background as a man describes the situation over the phone, the television station reported.
“I was at Dave & Buster’s, I heard people screaming, I looked towards my right and I see someone lay down,” one of the callers said. “I’ve never seen anything like this, man.”