Former Simeon football player found shot to death in Michigan - FOX 32 News Chicago

Former Simeon football player found shot to death in Michigan

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SkyFOX over an Ypsilanti apartment complex where the body of Demarius Reed was found Friday morning. (WJBK) SkyFOX over an Ypsilanti apartment complex where the body of Demarius Reed was found Friday morning. (WJBK)

Just like when they were teammates at Simeon, Darius Scott wore No. 1 for the Eastern Michigan University football team and Demarius Reed wore No. 2.

"Every time I close my eyes, all I can see is No. 1 and No. 2 lining up on the field," said Dennis Butler, Simeon's assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. "That will never change."

But the Simeon football program was in mourning Friday after Reed was found shot to death. Reed's body was found at an off-campus apartment several blocks north of the Eastern Michigan campus. Reed, 20, suffered multiple gunshot wounds, Ypsilanti, Mich., police said in a statement.

Some of Reed's belongings were missing. Robbery is suspected as a possible motive, police said.

Friday night's football game against Foreman was the last thing on the mind of Simeon coach Dante Culbreath, who received a call from Scott at 9 a.m. informing him of Reed's death. Culbreath was visibly shaken while being interviewed.

A 5-foot-10, 160-pound wide receiver, Reed was rated as Illinois' 43rd-best prospect while at Simeon. He earned first-team All-State and All-City honors. Reed also had started all six games for Eastern Michigan this year, catching 15 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown.

"He was such a great kid," Culbreath said of Reed. "He did everything the right way, on and off the field. He knew what he wanted and he set out to get it done.

"I have been sitting at this desk in a locked room all day. I know I have to pull myself together for the sake of the team. These kids looked up to him so much. He would come back and work out with them; was a real mentor and a big brother."

Demani Reed, Demarius' younger brother, is one of those team members ­— a freshman who plays on the Simeon varsity football team.

"My brother was my hero. He was always there for me," Demani Reed said. "I knew if I followed his path, I was going to be OK."

Demarius' father, Carl Reed, worries about his children growing up in the city.

"Demarius was my firstborn of my six children," he said. "I was so certain he was safe and in a good place, in college, playing ball on a campus environment outside of Chicago. I never, ever expected something like this to happen."

Culbreath acknowledged that facing these tragedies has become far too commonplace. He also pointed to Reed's character.

"He was one of the leaders of my first class when I took over as head coach, so there's a special bond," Culbreath said. "You tell a kid to hit the books, stay out of trouble, go to school ... and this happens.

"He did what he was supposed to do and his life is still cut way too short. I feel like he was my responsibility and I failed him."

Like many young football players, Reed's dreams were to one day play in the NFL, his grandfather told The Associated Press.

"I told him 'Man, you have to stay in that gym,'" Joe L. Reed said in a telephone interview from Chicago. "He would say 'I'm good enough.' He loved the game."

The elder Reed said he found irony in the tragedy of his grandson's slaying: Demarius was able to survive the dangerous streets and gangs of Chicago only to become a victim in the perceived safety of a university community.

"He was an outgoing, beautiful kid. He wasn't associated with no gang or anything," he said. "I would say, 'Hey man. Don't go outside.' I wouldn't let him associate with anybody over there."

Over there, he said, is the area near Simeon on Chicago's South Side.

Joe L. Reed said he even had reservations about his grandson moving into an off-campus apartment.

"He was on scholarship," he said. "He could have stayed on-campus."

Reed was rated as the 43rd Best Prospect in the State of Illinois. He earned first-team All-State and All-City honors.

The Sun-Times Media Wire and Associated Press contributed to this report.

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