Mom's Ex Kills High School Football Star in Georgia, Police Say
Friday, February 19, 2010
POWDER SPRINGS, Ga. — Police in Powder Springs, Ga., still don't know what led to the fatal shooting of McEachern High School football star Rajaan Bennett.
Two weeks ago, Bennett was one of Georgia's top high school football recruits, ready to take his quick feet and powerful legs to Vanderbilt University. On Thursday morning, police say his mother's ex-boyfriend fatally shot the 18-year-old and then turned the gun on himself.
Bennett was found dead at his family's home after officers responding to a call arrived at his family's modest home around 2:30 a.m. and heard at least four gun shots. Powder Springs Maj. Charles Spann said 39-year-old Clifton Steger shot Bennett and then killed himself.
Bennett's uncle, Taiwan Hunter, 32, was wounded and underwent surgery. He was in critical condition Thursday afternoon.
It was not clear what prompted the shooting.
Spann said Friday there was no sign of a struggle and that there had been no previous reports of domestic violence involving the family.
"Rajaan was an extraordinary young man and an ideal fit for Vanderbilt University," Vanderbilt football coach Bobby Johnson said in a statement. "Initially, our thoughts and prayers are with his mother Narjaketha and family members. I know he meant so much to them."
Bennett, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., rushed for 1,857 yards and 28 touchdowns last season for McEachern. He also earned three letters in track.
McEachern school officials held a news conference Thursday.
"We have a population of 2,200 kids, and when you're Rajaan Bennett, you touch the lives of all 2,200," principal Regina Montgomery said.
She said counselors would be at the school to help students with the grieving process, but, "We don't know what we're going to do tomorrow, we're just trying to get through today together."
McEachern football coach Kyle Hockman called Bennett, listed by Vanderbilt as 5-11, 210 pounds, "one of the best ever."