Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will pay for the funeral expenses of Jaylon McKenzie, a promising eighth grade football player who was killed by a stray bullet as he left a party near St. Louis on Saturday night.
Elliott, who grew up in St. Louis, reached out to the family shortly after the tragedy. The Cowboys confirmed Elliott's gesture, but the running back wanted to keep the matter between him and McKenzie's family.
"Zeke is really a special guy," coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday at the team's sponsors' golf tournament at Cowboys Golf Club. "He's a great football player obviously, but he's a really good person and that doesn't surprise me one bit.
McKenzie's mother,Sukeena Gunner, said her son was trying to leave a party in Venice, Illinois, when a fight broke out. According to Illinois State Police, McKenzie was struck by a stray bullet and died at a local hospital. A 15-year-old girl was also hit and remains in critical condition.
McKenzie, who was already receiving college scholarship offers as an eighth grader, was selected to compete in the All-American All-Star Game in Canton, Ohio, during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend.