Sport

Saturday 3 December 2016

NBA star shot dead on daughter's first birthday after misunderstanding in Texas

Published 29/05/2016 | 20:26

Bryce Dejean-Jones
Bryce Dejean-Jones

US basketball star Bryce Dejean-Jones was shot dead on his daughter's first birthday after mistakenly going to the wrong flat in Texas.

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Dejean-Jones was visiting his girlfriend for his daughter's first birthday and had gone for a walk early yesterday, according to his agent, Scott W Nichols.

His girlfriend lives on the fourth floor and Dejean-Jones, who was visiting the complex for the first time, went to the third.

A man living at the flat was sleeping when he heard his front door kicked open, police Senior Corporal DeMarquis Black said. When Dejean-Jones began kicking at the bedroom door, the man retrieved a handgun and fired. Dejean-Jones collapsed in an outdoor passageway, and he died at hospital.

It is legal in Texas for someone to use deadly force to protect themselves from intruders. Dallas police have not said whether the man who shot the 23-year-old would face charges.

Dejean-Jones's father told California television station KCAL-TV that his son was "tenacious".

"He has had so many things that have happened to him along his path," KC Jones told the station. "He made up his mind that he wanted to do what he was doing - play pro ball. And whatever it took, he was going to get there. He was going to do it."

In Dejean-Jones' only NBA season, which ended in February because of a broken right wrist, he started 11 of 14 games for the New Orleans Pelicans and averaged 5.6 points and 3.4 rebounds.

"We are devastated at the loss of this young man's life," the Pelicans said in a statement on Saturday.

Mr Nichols said Dejean-Jones had nearly completed his rehab and was set to begin shooting with his right hand again next week.

"It's shocking this happened," Mr Nichols said. "Wrong place, wrong time, I think."

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called it a "tragic loss" and said Dejean-Jones "had a bright future in our league".

Dejean-Jones was signed by the Pelicans last summer after not being selected in the 2015 draft.

"I just lost my best friend/cousin last night enjoy life because you never know if tomorrow is guaranteed," Shabazz Muhammad of the Minnesota Timberwolves wrote on Twitter.

Fred Hoiberg, the coach of the NBA's Chicago Bulls, said Dejean-Jones was a "passionate and talented player that lived out his dream of playing in the NBA through hard work and perseverance".

Julie Keel, a spokeswoman for Camden Property Trust, the company that owns the apartment complex in Dallas, confirmed that the complex's apartment manager had sent out an email to residents saying that the person who had been shot had been trying to break into "the apartment of an estranged acquaintance" and that this person had "inadvertently" broken into the wrong flat.

Black said he could not confirm that Dejean-Jones was trying to access an acquaintance's flat.

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