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Grambling State football player Darrell Clark and his younger brother were shot Wednesday night in New Orleans.
Clark’s younger brother, Keyon Clark, 19, was fatally wounded just outside the Frank Lemon playground gymnasium at the 1300 block of South Causeway Boulevard in the metro New Orleans area.
Darrell “D.J.” Clark, a rising senior wide receiver for the Tigers, and another unidentified gunshot victim were transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries after the triple shooting. Following surgery, Clark was said to be in “stable” condition.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Captain Jason Rivarde said authorities responded to a reported shooting call at 9:15 p.m., where they found Keyon Clark dead at the scene.
“The investigation is ongoing and active and we’re working through it as we go,” Rivarde said. “We do have some investigative leads that we’re working. It’s very early and active investigation and we’re not ready to put anything out in the public eye yet.
“We’ll work it until we hit a wall and then we’ll release what we have with cause and motive. But we haven’t hit that wall yet.”
Rivarde told The News-Star he hopes the JPSO will have the investigation wrapped up Thursday and an arrest made.
“It just depends on how the investigation plays out,” he said. “We’ll work it until we can’t work it anymore, and hopefully it ends with an arrest.”
‘They all look up to him’
Rusty Ponton, GSU’s athletic director and vice president of student affairs and who worked closely with student athletes at the school for nearly 30 years, described Clark as a “great kid with a great personality.”
“You see all the posts on social media, they all look up to him. He’s one of those guys, he’s consistent, great attitude, work ethic, always give you good points, the kind of student-athlete you want and build your team around,” Ponton said Thursday morning. “Our prayers go out to Clark and his family, dealing with the loss of his brother.
“Right now, you’re stunned that things like this happen. You know they do, but you’re at a loss for words when they happen to you.”
Grambling State head football coach Broderick Fobbs first heard of the tragedy around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday night and drove down to New Orleans to check in on his senior player.
“It’s a tough situation,” Fobbs told The News-Star Thursday afternoon. “You’re always concerned about all your players when they go home or go out of town. You never know. You’re very protective of them.”
Fobbs said Clark was “in a little bit of pain” and “hanging in there” after the loss of his brother, but was stable, coherent and talking after visiting him in the hospital.
“He’s a mature young man. He’s come a long way, came from a tough environment and upbringing,” Fobbs said. “He has a strong family, a bunch of family members around him that really care about him. His parents have been tough on him and helped turned his life around and he’s become a good student.
“He’s not a vocal leader, but a guy that does what his coach asks him to do and he’s one of the smartest football players we have. He’s very tough and very strong and wants to succeed in every area of his life. That’s who he is. I’m just thankful he’s going to be OK. We’re sad for the loss of his brother, but we’re fortunate both of them weren’t lost.
“He’s expected to make a full recovery. I’m not concerned about football. I’m not worried about him catching passes or touchdowns for us. But he’ll have the full functional ability he had prior to (the shooting). That gave me joy.”
Fobbs said he won’t have a chance to meet with his Grambling football team until next week, but he knows it’ll be important for the players to come together for Clark.
“We want to pull everybody together, support and prays for D.J. to make a speedy recovery so he can get back to doing the thing he loves to do.”
Grambling State players react
Grambling State University President Rick Gallot extended thoughts and prayers on behalf of the school to the Clark family.
“We’re always concerned with the safety and success of our students, whether they’re student-athletes or not,” Gallot told The News-Star. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Clark family as they deal with this tragedy. I don’t know the particulars of the incident, but on behalf of the university, the GramFam, the Clarks are and continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.”
Hearing the news, current and former Grambling football players took to social media with outpourings of support for Clark and his brother, with many changing their avatars to a black background with a gold number 17, Clark’s jersey number.
“I need you. I can’t go back to school without my big brother on campus with me. Pull through dawg,” Grambling quarterback J.P. Pierce tweeted.
Fellow GSU senior wide receiver De’Vante Davis tweeted: “Man (sic) I hate hearing news like this bro. Shake back family.”
Former star Grambling running back Martez Carter tweeted: “It wasn’t your time.”
Former GSU wide receiver Calief Samon tweeted: “Swear I’m grateful for you (sic) on everything I love you bro.”
The News-Star is working to gather more information and comments. Come back to thenewsstar.com as this story develops.
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