( 4UMF NEWS ) NBA Rookie Shot Dead After Breaking Into Wrong Apartment:
An NBA rookie who played for the New Orleans Pelicans was shot to death in Dallas after breaking into an apartment he thought belonged to the mother of his child, officials said.
Instead of finding the woman, Bryce Dejean-Jones entered the wrong home, waking a man from his slumber around 3:20 a.m. Saturday. That man blasted the 23-year-old baller in the midsection, police said.
Joshua Pool, a manager at the Camden Belmont Apartments, sent out an email to residents of the complex saying that “an individual who believed to be breaking into the apartment of an estranged acquaintance inadvertently broke into the wrong apartment.”
Police said the resident heard a commotion, grabbed a handgun and called out to the man who broke into his apartment. Dejean-Jones kicked the bedroom door open and the resident fired, according to the police report.
Dejean-Jones ran out of the apartment and “collapsed in the breezeway,” police said. The shooting guard was taken to a local hospital, where he died.
Under Texas law, homeowners can use deadly force to defend themselves in their homes.
Dallas police said it does not appear that Dejean-Jones and the resident of the apartment knew each other.
Dejean-Jones was visiting his girlfriend for his daughter’s first birthday, which was Saturday, said his agent, Scott W. Nichols. He said the girlfriend returned to the apartment first while Dejean-Jones went for a walk after they had gone out.
Sources told ESPN that he and the woman had argued. She lives on the fourth floor, and Dejean-Jones went to the third.
“He went to the wrong apartment unfortunately and I think he thought his girlfriend locked him out, so he was knocking on the door, banging on the door, it’s locked,” Nichols said. “So one thing led to another.”
“It’s shocking this happened,” Nichols said. “Wrong place, wrong time, I think.”
Dejean-Jones was known as a scrappy guard who elbowed his way into the NBA.
“Bryce overcame a lot of obstacles to get to this point in his career,” Nichols told ESPN.
Dejean-Jones, originally from Los Angeles, started 11 of 14 games with the Pelicans this season before undergoing surgery for a broken right wrist. He missed the rest of the year.
The Pelicans released a statement Saturday acknowledging Dejean-Jones’ “sudden passing” with “deep sadness.”
“We are devastated at the loss of this young man’s life who had such a promising future ahead of him,” it said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Bryce’s family during this difficult time.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also weighed in.
“Bryce inspired countless people with his hard work and perseverance on his journey to the NBA, and he had a bright future in our league,” Silver said.
Following his college career at the University of Southern California, the University of Nevada Las Vegas and Iowa State, he went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft.
He was first signed by the Pelicans in August 2015, but was waived in October.
The Pelicans resigned him Jan. 21 and he played in his first NBA game that day. He reportedly earned just under $170,000 for the season and was expected to be on the team next year.
Shocked NBA stars took to Twitter to share their grief over the stunning death.
“I’ll never forget you Bryce. My heart is super heavy right now man. Thanks for being a true brother. #RipBryce,” Brooklyn Nets guard Sean Kilpatrick Jr. wrote.
“Saddened to hear about Bryce Dejean Jones. Condolences to his family. May he Rest in Peace.” tweeted former Iowa State University teammate Melvin Ejim.
“This Can’t be real life… Rest easy lil bro @B2nyce #ripBDJ” Pelicans guard Quincy Pondexter added.
“Crazy how life is man,” wrote Brooklyn Nets guard Shane Larkin. “Prayers out to Bryce Dejean Jones and his family.”
Dejean-Jones’ former coach from his days at Iowa State, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, was reeling from the loss.
“I’m grateful that our paths crossed in this life,” Hoiberg said in a statement. “Bryce was a passionate and talented player that lived out his dream of playing in the NBA through hard work and perseverance.”