McKenzie was just 14 years old.
Jaylon McKenzie was a blossoming star out on the football field thanks to his talents at the running back, receiver, and defensive back positions. At just 13 years old, McKenzie was even featured in Sports Illustrated as it was believed that he had the potential to be a dominant force in the sport for years to come. According to Complex, the University of Missouri and Illinois had even offered him scholarships thanks to his play out on the field. McKenzie had big dreams that were ultimately stripped away from him over the weekend in a devastating incident.
McKenzie was leaving a party with a 15-year-old girl when a fight broke out. Shots were fired, with McKenzie and the girl being hit by stray bullets. McKenzie was not the intended target of the shots, although he passed away from his injuries after being rushed to the hospital, according to CNN. The girl is currently in critical condition.
“It’s so hard to fathom that someone took my baby from me because he dreamed so big,” McKenzie's mom Sukeena Gunner told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I can just remember him coming into my room and telling my husband to call his name. ‘We have a 5-6 running back, Jayyyyy-lonnnn MacKenzieeee.’ And he would run into the room after his name was called.”
McKenzie was 14 years old at the time of his death and was a student at Mason-Clark Middle School.