13-year-old rising football star shot and killed in Illinois
VENICE, Ill. — A 13-year-old rising football star in Belleville, Illinois, was killed in a shooting late Saturday night.
Jaylon McKenzie was struck and killed by a stray bullet after leaving a party in Venice, Illinois. McKenzie’s mother, Sukeena Gunner, said KcKenzie had walked out of the party to avoid the fight when he was killed.
McKenzie was an 8th grader at Mason Clark Middle School. Although he wasn’t in high school yet, his mother told News 4 he had received attention from colleges for his skills on the football field.
McKenzie had already received scholarship offers from Mizzou and Illinois.
Gunner said her son was taken to Gateway Hospital in Granite City, Illinois, after he was shot. She also said he was joined at the hospital by more than 75 of his friends. She said her son was dead at midnight.
The East St. Louis School District 189 expressed its support of students and faculty impacted by the shooting, offering crisis teams and counseling on its campuses. It also offered thoughts and prayers to McKenzie’s family.
News 4 reached out to the Illinois State Police about McKenzie’s death. They have not responded yet.
The school district’s full statement can be read here:
“School District 189 has learned that a few of our students were shot at a house party in Venice, IL at some point Saturday night. Few details are clear at this point. We do know that our youth, families and school staff have dealt with a number of tragedies and incidents of violence this year. We request space and time for them to appropriately grieve and come to terms with this latest impact of violence.
Crisis teams will be present at the schools in the upcoming days to provide counseling and support to students and staff during this difficult time. We send our prayers to the families impacted by this violence and hope for healing for the victims.”