Closings: Schools, churches, day-cares and businesses

Ezekiel Elliott offers to pay for funeral for slain Belleville football player

BELLEVILLE, Ill. – An NFL player from the St. Louis area will help cover the funeral expenses of a young football phenom who was gunned down at a house party over the weekend.

Jaylon McKenzie was one of two teenagers shot at a home in the 600 block of 3rd Street in Venice, Illinois on Saturday, May 4. McKenzie, 14, was rushed to a local hospital and died a short time later.

The other shooting victim, a 15-year-old girl, was listed in critical condition.

No arrests have been made in the shooting. Illinois State Police are still investigating. Anyone who witnessed the shooting or has any knowledge of the shooting is asked to contact the Illinois State Police Investigations Case Agent Scott Wobbe at 618-381-1467. Callers can remain anonymous.

McKenzie was an eighth-grader at Central Junior High in Belleville and was recently featured in Sports Illustrated as one of their top six teen athletes in the country.

According to our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, former John Burroughs star athlete and current Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott reached out to McKenzie’s mother, Sukeena Gunner, with an offer to pay for her son’s funeral. Gunner said two other NFL players contacted the family with offers to help but asked to remain anonymous.

In addition, Gunner’s sorority sisters launched a GoFundMe campaign to help the family with the funeral and additional expenses.

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