Two football players from Washburn University were victims of a shooting early Sunday morning.

The attack happened off campus and left junior defensive back Dwane Simmons, 23, dead. Fellow Washburn product Corey Ballentine, who had been selected by the New York Giants in the sixth round just hours before, was wounded but is expected to make a full recovery.

The Giants are aware of the situation and have spoken to Ballentine. “We are aware of the tragic situation and continue to gather information,” the team said in a statement. “We have spoken to Corey and he is recovering in the hospital.” They added, “Our thoughts are with Dwane Simmons’ family, friends and teammates and the rest of the Washburn community.”

Officers responded to a disturbance with gunshots in central Topeka, Kansas, roughly four blocks from campus, at approximately 1:46 a.m. EST. According to Topeka Police Lt. John Trimble, Simmons was dead when officers arrived. Ballentine was already being taken to a hospital by a private vehicle with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.


A school press conference scheduled for Sunday afternoon to celebrate Ballentine’s selection was postponed in the wake of the attack. Washburn head coach Craig Schurig said the news was “heartbreaking” and added that Simmons was “one of the most energetic and well-liked players I have ever coached,” whose “infectious smile and love for football and his teammates was truly inspirational.”

On Sunday, Washburn put out a statement regarding the events. It read: “To the campus community:

“We come to you this morning with sad and difficult news. Early this morning two of our students were the victims of an off-campus shooting. Dwane Simmons, a junior and a member of the football team, was killed in the incident. In addition, Corey Ballentine, a senior, was injured. Ballentine is expected to make a full recovery.”

“Any time we lose a student it is a sad occasion, but it is particularly poignant to lose a student through such a senseless act. Both Dwane and Corey have been great examples and representatives of the football team and of Washburn University in general. This was a terrible way to end a day which should have been a day of celebration and a day to look forward to Dwane’s upcoming year at Washburn and the beginning of Corey’s professional career.”

“While we extend our deepest sympathies to Dwane’s family, we also want to make sure that the campus community knows that we have counseling resources available. We will have counselors on campus today and the counseling help line — 785-670-3100 — is available 24 hours a day.”

“Please take advantage of these services as we keep both Dwane and Corey and their families in our thoughts and prayers.”

Ballentine’s selection at 180th overall was the highest in Washburn history.

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