Father of Atatiana Jefferson, black woman killed at home by a white Texas police officer, has died

first_imgkali9/iStock(FORT WORTH, Texas) — Marquis Jefferson, father of Atatiana Jefferson, a black woman fatally shot by a white police officer inside her Fort Worth, Texas, home last month, has died.Family spokesperson, Bruce Carter, said that Jefferson suffered a heart attack and died around 6:30 p.m. Saturday night at the Methodist Charlton Medical Center in Dallas. He was 59-years-old.Carter told KDFW that Jefferson had been battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and was under a lot of stress in the few weeks since his daughter’s death.“He ultimately just succumbed to, I don’t know, I can only say a broken heart,” Carter said. “He just never recovered from the grieving process.”Atatiana Jefferson, 28, was Marquis Jefferson’s only child.She was killed on Oct. 12 while playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew. Fort Worth officer Aaron Dean, 34, fired fatally into her bedroom window while conducting a wellness check.At a press conference last month, Fort Worth Police Lt. Brandon O’Neil said Dean never identified himself as police, sparking national outrage and claims of excessive policing. Body camera footage released by the Fort Worth Police Department also appears to confirm that Dean did not identify himself as police before he shot. Dean resigned before he could be fired in connection with the shooting. He was released on a $200,000 bond after he was arrested and charged with murder.Marquis Jefferson made headlines in the weeks following his daughter’s death as he sought a temporary restraining order to gain control over her funeral arrangements from his daughter’s aunt. He said that he had been denied any involvement in the funeral planning and as his daughter’s sole legal heir, it was his duty to arrange it. A deal was eventually reached, and the funeral service took place Oct. 24.Sacramento Kings star Harrison Barnes and Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Malik Jackson helped cover the funeral costs for Atatiana, according to Jefferson family attorney Lee Meritt.Nearly three weeks after laying Atatiana to rest, the Jefferson family is faced with another funeral.“Please keep his family in your prayers,” Carter said in a statement, “and tonight make sure you hug and tell your loved ones how much you love them.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reservelast_img read more

Former Henninger coach Erik Saroney’s rebuilt OCC program reaping success

first_img Published on February 26, 2020 at 12:23 am Contact Andrew: [email protected] | @CraneAndrew Erik Saroney blew his whistle one final time and started walking toward the paint. Scattered around the Allyn Hall gymnasium during a Feb. 21 practice, his Onondaga Community College men’s basketball players did the same. Jakhi Lucas shuffled next to Saroney, then Jason Davis, then Sunday Joshua.This is a young OCC team, one of Saroney’s youngest. None of OCC’s 11 freshmen and one sophomore were at the game Saroney began to reference — a 2018 regional playoff game against Finger Lakes Community College where the Lazers erased a nine-point deficit in the final 20 seconds and won in overtime.“We’ve been lucky enough in past years to always have a couple older guys,” Saroney said. “This year, I mean these guys are right out of high school.”Throughout the 2019-20 season, each of the three non-conference losses became afterthoughts when a 12-0 conference record followed. Even in those, OCC hadn’t trailed late in games often. As their final 20-minute scrimmage of practice wound down, Saroney wanted to simulate that scenario.Before Tuesday night — when the Lazers defeated Finger Lakes again in the NJCAA Division III, Region III Championship Tournament to advance — they needed to practice. The Allyn Hall bleachers were pulled back and eight of the 10 baskets hung down from the ceiling, but soon it’ll be just two baskets for OCC as they prepare for another postseason game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSaroney left Henninger (New York) High School in 2016 after 14 seasons for a “different challenge,” he said, and that’s exactly what No. 2 Onondaga (25-3) presented. It’s still not a full-time coaching job — Saroney’s a physical education teacher at Grant Middle School — but he’s already built on the five Section III championships and seven league titles he won with the Henninger Black Knights. At OCC, he’s won four straight conference championships, turning a .500 team into a perennial power.“Watching various levels of college basketball, I always thought, ‘Well, I can do that,’” Saroney said. “Then this presented itself and I was like let’s see if I really can.” In the three years since: 66 wins, three conference championships and an annual spot in the top-10 cemented.Roshan Fernandez | Asst. Digital EditorIn Nov. 2015, 15-year OCC head coach David Pasiak was placed on administrative leave for what later surfaced as a lack of diversity while recruiting. Saroney was hired four months later and after just one season the 15-14 Lazers became 28-5, the best season in the program’s 49 year history, at the time.But until 2002, Saroney didn’t want to leave the Carolinas. He and Michelle, his wife, loved it there after moving down following their graduations at SUNY Brockport. They had their tight-knit group of friends from Saroney’s sport administration master’s degree program at North Carolina Chapel Hill. They had a down payment on a house. And most of all, Saroney had started coaching high school basketball.After a collegiate playing career that started at Florida Tech and ended with the Golden Eagles, Saroney coached at Cresset Christian Academy and University of South Carolina Upstate before he became the junior varsity coach at Chapel Hill High School. He was next in line to succeed the then-varsity coach when he retired, Michelle said, but was passed over. An “eye-opener,” she called it.That June, the couple returned to New York for Michelle’s mother’s wedding at the Calvary Chapel of Rochester and a graduation party for Saroney’s cousin at Henninger. As Michelle prepped her mother for the ceremony and reception, Saroney burst into the room. “I ran into Maz,” he said, referencing Joe Mazella — his former coach at Henninger.At the graduation party, Mazella approached Saroney about taking over his head coach role with the Black Knights once he transitioned into an administrative role. Saroney had no intention of even interviewing, but his wife pushed him to.In all four seasons under Erik Saroney, the Lazers have reached the 20-win mark. Latyce Faison (23) is OCC’s leading scorer at 21.0 points per game. Emily Steinberger | Design EditorThree months later they were back in Syracuse. Saroney and Michelle lived at his mother’s before eventually moving into a house in Eastwood — the East Syracuse neighborhood of Saroney’s first coaching role back in high school. A then-ninth grade Saroney worked with players still in middle school on the fundamentals: passing, dribbling, form shooting. Over time, those became the defining characteristics of his coaching style that followed him from Henninger to OCC.“People want to work on eurosteps and this and that, but he works on the little things because those create longevity when you’re playing,” OCC assistant coach Keith Tyson, a former Henninger player under Saroney, said.Saroney learned the coaching style — and developed his dream of building up a high school program — from Mazella. When his former high school coach died by suicide in 2009, he learned that coaching was more than fundamentals: personal connections with players are just as important. Other tragic losses — one of his top recruit’s father and as well as a former player — shaped him as a coach.“He just tries to build that family atmosphere and when one’s hurting, they’re all hurting,” Michelle said.Still, Saroney maintains focus on the fundamentals, just like Mazella would. To open his Feb. 21 practice, Saroney made his players circle around him at half-court with a ball in their hand. “On the hop,” he shouted as each ran over to the rack and grabbed a ball. Saroney’s message was clear: it didn’t matter what the other teams in OCC’s region were doing around playoff time, that they might focus solely on scouting reports or solely on running offensive and defensive sets. He wasn’t changing.On Tuesday night, OCC defeated Finger Lakes Community College to advance in the NJCAA Division III, Region III Championship Tournament. Emily Steinberger | Design EditorForm shooting was what lifted the Black Knights to one of their sectional titles in 2013. Tyson was in a shooting slump at the end of his senior season and Henninger was days away from facing West Genesee in the finals. Saroney knew the Wildcats were going to pack their defense inside the paint and force Henninger to win from behind the arc.He tweaked Tyson’s form along with his other guards, and they used double-digit 3-pointers to blow past West Genesee by 13. When Saroney left Henninger in 2016, his top two assistants — Jonathan Woody and Gallagher Driscoll — followed him to continue Henninger’s success at the JUCO level.“We spend an inordinate amount of time working on our finishes and our shooting, and probably less time than some other coaches on the play or the execution,” Saroney said. “Because the execution doesn’t do you any good if you don’t have the skills to finish it out.”Saroney’s whistle blew, and the Lazers pounded the ball with their right hand. Another whistle, and the balls flipped to the left. Then, right to left, between the legs and behind the back until the shot clock illuminated red and the team moved to layups.Layups became rebounds, rebounds became 3-pointers and eventually the Lazers arrived at the final sequence of their practice: the situational scrimmage. Saroney’s whistle pierced the air as he strolled toward the baseline, and again when Lucas stole the ball and lifted in a simple lefty layup off the backboard.“See how many ways you can turn them over,” Saroney yelled as the light blue jerseys reset their press. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more