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Arkansas State Red Wolves junior defensive lineman Markel Owens was killed while fighting off two armed robbers during a home invasion.
According to USA Today Sports, Arkansas State confirmed Thursday that Owens and his step-father, Johnny Shivers, were both shot and killed.
The Associated Press has reported that Shivers died at the scene and that Owens and his mother, who was also shot, were transported to a nearby hospital. Owens was pronounced dead a short time later. His mother was treated and released.
Police have said that the home invasion happened in Jackson, Tenn. and the 21-year-old was trying to protect his parents from the attackers.
“I think you can conclude that he was protecting his mother and stepfather,” Jackson police spokesman Tyreece Miller said of the athlete.
After news of the tragedy broke, the Arkansas State football team posted the following message on its Twitter account:
"Today is a tough day for the Red Wolves family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Markel Owens' family and friends at this difficult time."