Giants draft pick's message to slain Washburn teammate: 'I love you forever'

Luke Nozicka, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Football

The recent New York Giants draft pick injured in a Topeka, Kan., shooting sent a message Monday to his slain Washburn University teammate, thanking him for being a "true friend."

"I love you forever," Corey Ballentine, a 23-year-old senior, said in a Twitter post about his roommate, Dwane Simmons, a 23-year-old player from Lee's Summit who was killed in the shooting early Sunday morning. "Thank you for letting me experience your life."

The post was the first time Ballentine has publicly commented on his friend's death. Ballentine said Simmons uplifted him, corrected him when he was wrong and accepted his flaws.

"Thank you," Ballentine wrote, "for being a brother to me."

The gunfire erupted about 12:45 a.m. Sunday at a party a few blocks from the university's campus. Ballentine was hospitalized and the university said he was expected to make a full recovery.

Simmons' family said they learned from detectives that Simmons and Ballentine were about to leave the party, put on by the college's women's soccer team, with other football players when a vehicle pulled up and the people inside asked them a question. When the car circled back, someone inside started shooting, relatives said.


Police have not released any suspect information.

Police Chief Bill Cochran told the Topeka Capital-Journal the players were "in the wrong place at the wrong time." The two were among about 50 people at the party, the Capital-Journal reported.

The killing left Simmons' family reeling as they tried to make sense of what happened.

"This was a senseless murder," Simmons' father, Navarro Simmons, said Sunday afternoon as more than two dozen family members and friends gathered at the southeast Kansas City home of Simmons' mother. "This shattered a lot of people."


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