FORT MYERS, Fla.- Football teammates of 17-year-old Jiatarious Brunson are speaking out, just days after their star running back was murdered in Fort Myers.
Fort Myers police say shots rang out late Saturday night at the Renaissance Preserve neighborhood. Brunson, and 20-year-old Paul Baldwin were shot and killed.
Brunson, known to friends as 'Jojo,' was a star football player at Fort Myers High School.
Friends and staff members described the sophomore as a respectful student who could light up the room.
Teammate Darrell Davis says, "he was not only my teammate, he was my brother, my friend, it's sad. It's hard to go through the day. We had a team meeting and hopefully we'll be able to play in his honor this year, do something good for the community." He says it was a tough day at school today, and during their team meeting when their coach shared the news. "Most of the guys were pretty depressed, all of us loved Jojo, he was a really good kid, respectful. Worked really hard in the weight room and in school. He seemed to be a good kid, always respectful, I mean he was involved with that side of the world you could say but he was trying to get out of it as much as he could, he was making good grades and playing football, trying to take care of his kid."
Fellow teammate Christian Costello called Davis this weekend and broke the news. Both students say it's hard to believe their friend is gone. Costello says, "he would inspire you, push you to your limits, it's like losing a family member, we don't know what to do now. He was very popular, everyone knew him, sweet guy, made everyone smile when he walked in the door."
Davis says, "we'll definitely play in his honor, keep his memory with us because his spirit is with us." The team is planning a prayer for 'Jojo' before practice on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, this is not the first time Paul Baldwin was a shooting victim. He was shot back in September of last year. At the time, his mother told WINK News she thought her son was targeted because of his involvement in the Lake Boys rap videos posted on YouTube.
We still don't know the connection between Brunson and Baldwin, and police have not released any information about a suspect or a motive.