TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Washburn University is mourning the death of one of its football players who was killed in an overnight shooting Sunday morning.
"Heartbreaking news about Dwane Simmons," said head coach Craig Schurig on the Washburn Athletics website, adding:
"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. Our prayers of healing go out to his family, his parents Navarro and Yasmine Simmons and Chaquilla Williams."
Simmons' teammate Collin Wilson took to Twitter to pay tribute to his teammate:
This one hurts different.. you were truly one of a kind bro. You spread so much love and joy to everyone around you and that can’t be replaced. You will be missed greatly by so many. I’m really at a loss for words.. you’ll never be forgotten
Another teammate, A.J. Thomas, wrote Simmons was "(a) leader, brother, motivator, teacher and a great man..that's what we lost last night..fly high 17"
Ichabod men's basketball head coach Brett Ballard tweeted that Simmons was in the gym on Friday "laughing, joking, and bringing a positive vibe like he always did."
Dwane was just in our gym on Friday. He was messing with our guys, laughing, joking and bringing a positive vibe like he always did. This one hurts bad. Seneless and we have to do better. My heart goes out to his family & friends. He will be missed.
Before coming to Topeka to play for the Ichabods, Simmons played high school ball at Lee's Summit West High School, just outside of Kansas City, Missouri.
The school released a statement, calling the 2014 alum, a "valued student, friend, and athlete."
"Dwane was a true representative of our school district and community," the statement continued. "His family, his friends, and his teammates are in our thoughts. Sending love."
According to the University, Simmons played for the Ichabods between 2015 and 2018, coming back from two knee injuries in the process. The 23-year-old defensive back started 17 games and played in 22 overall. In that time, Simmons tallied 59 tackles and three interceptions - one of those, he returned for a touchdown.
Washburn University also released a statement on the shooting, which also injured former player Corey Ballentine, who had been drafted by the New York Giants.
"Both Dwane and Corey have been great examples and representatives of the football team and of Washburn University in general, the statement said. "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."
The University added that counseling services are available for any players who need it. The counseling help line is available 24 hours a day at 785-670-3100.
Full statement from Washburn University
To the campus community:
We come to you this morning with sad and difficult news. Early this morning two of our students were the victims of an off-campus shooting. Dwane Simmons, a junior and a member of the football team, was killed in the incident. In addition, Corey Ballentine, a senior, was injured. Ballentine is expected to make a full recovery.
Any time we lose a student it is a sad occasion, but it is particularly poignant to lose a student through such a senseless act. Both Dwane and Corey have been great examples and representatives of the football team and of Washburn University in general. 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.
While we extend our deepest sympathies to Dwane’s family, we also want to make sure that the campus community knows that we have counseling resources available. We will have counselors on campus today and the counseling help line -- 785-670-3100 -- is available 24 hours a day.
Please take advantage of these services as we keep both Dwane and Corey and their families in our thoughts and prayers.