A young football star at Eastern Michigan University and former Simeon Academy player was shot to death in an apparent robbery. Simeon Academy's varsity football team honored the slain mentor at the game Friday night.
A Chicago native and Eastern Michigan University football player was found dead Friday morning, police said.
Demarius Reed, 20, was discovered with several gunshot wounds at 7:15 a.m. at an off-campus location in the 700 block of West Clark Road near the intersection of LeForge and Clark roads. The incident has been classified as a homicide.
The Ypsilanti Police Department is investigating Reed's death and released few details as of Friday afternoon.
Officials later said evidence suggests he may have been the victim of a robbery.
Reed, who attended high school at Chicago's Simeon Academy, was a wide receiver for EMU's football team. According to his player profile, he was rated three stars by ESPN and ranked by ESPN.com as the 64th best cornerback in the country.
"We are all deeply saddened by the tragic news this morning involving Eastern Michigan University student Demarius Reed," EMU said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, and his teammates on the football team."
EMU's football team remembered the former football star as they played their first game since his death Saturday.
Players and fans were adorned with No. 2 stickers at Saturday's game.
Some players wore towels with quotes like "No. 2 live in peace." Others wore sweatbands embroidered with a No. 2.
“EMU is a real family and Demarius was loved by everyone,” said student Jacob Andrews. "It's a really sad feeling. He was just a great guy."
The team rushed onto the field hoisting his jersey before stopping for a moment of silence.
Simeon Academy's varsity football team, scheduled to play a game tonight with Reed's younger brother on the field, hung Reed's No. 2 jersey in the stands at Gately Stadium to honor of the former football player.
His family attended the game at Simeon Academy Friday night to cheer on his younger brother and said they are trying to handle the loss the way Reed would have wanted.
"Calm supporter who embraces the situation and trying to make it more positive," said Reed's father Carl Reed.
Surrounded by support from family and friends, Reed's family says they're still in shock from the news.
"It's crazy, I mean that something like that would happen to somebody with so much ahead of them," said Carl Reed. "I was just looking for a voicemail so I could try to bring his voice up."
Reed was a junior majoring in Communication, Media and Theatre Arts. School officials said he was well-liked and considered a leader among his teammates and friends.
"The EMU family has suffered an unbelievable loss today," Heather Lyke, director of Intercollegiate Athletics, said. "Demarius was an influential leader who thrived in the classroom and on the field. Everyone gravitated to him and often described him as the 'life of the locker room.'"
To honor Reed, the team said it will not cancel Saturday's 1 p.m. home game against Ohio University.
"This is a tragedy," Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher, Mid-American Conference commissioner, said. "Words cannot express my remorse for the loss of this young man. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Reed family, his teammates, coaches, and fellow students at Eastern Michigan University."
A community forum was planned for 5 p.m. Friday in the Student Center Auditorium where Oakwood) EMU Police Chief Bob Heighes and EMU President Susan Martin were expected to give an update and answer questions.
And answers are all Reed's family is asking for.
"We just want to try to find out what happened," Carl Reed said.
Eastern Michigan University plans to hold a memorial for Reed at noon Saturday.