Elgin High School football player and 2021 North Texas signee Willie Simmons was killed in Sunday’s shooting in Austin, Texas, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle.
The Associated Press reported that police are searching for 41-year-old suspect Stephen Broderick, who allegedly shot and killed three, including Simmons. Per the Associated Press report, Broderick had a relationship with Simmons and the other two victims.
“The victims were all known to this suspect,” interim Austin police chief Joseph Chacon said. “At this point, we do not think this individual is out there targeting random people to shoot. That does not mean he is not dangerous.”
Simmons was a star outside linebacker at Elgin, earning a unanimous first-team All-District 13-5A selection as a junior. A three-star recruit according to 247Sports, Simmons picked North Texas over offers from Air Force, New Mexico, Missouri State and Lamar, signing with the Mean Green during the Early Signing Period in November.
“North Texas was an easy decision because of the facilities and the coaches,” Simmons said after he committed, per Brett Vito of the Record-Chronicle. “I felt the love. There was no doubt in my mind when they gave me an offer.”
Shortly after the news of Simmons’ tragic death broke, North Texas players and coaches took to social media to remember him.
— Adrian Mayes (@CoachAMayes) April 19, 2021
“Prayers to the Simmons family and all families affected,” North Texas tight ends coach Adrian Mayes tweeted. “What an unbelievable kid! Intelligent, hard working and passionate! Going to miss you! #RIP9”
Sometimes things happen that you just can’t wrap your head around or make any sense of.
Praying for the Simmons’, Elgin community, and all of those Willie affected with his bright smile, infectious personality, and larger than life heart. #LLW #9💜
Going to miss you my man!! pic.twitter.com/WanRd3iqKZ
— Luke Walerius (@LukeWaleriusUNT) April 19, 2021
“Sometimes things happen that you just can’t wrap your head around or make any sense of,” North Texas recruiting coordinator Luke Walerius wrote. Praying for the Simmons, [the] Elgin community, and all of those Willie affected with his bright smile, infectious personality, and larger than life heart. #LLW #9Purple heart. Going to miss you my man!!”