College Football Player, Age 21, Fatally Shot

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The community of the University of Southern Mississippi, often referred to as Southern Miss, is grappling with the tragic loss of Marcus “MJ” Daniels. A senior defensive back for the Golden Eagles, Daniels was fatally shot on Tuesday night, June 11, at the Ivy Row housing complex in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Daniels, a 21-year-old standout athlete, was from Lucedale, Mississippi, and had transferred to Southern Miss from Ole Miss.

Upon discovery, Daniels was unresponsive in his vehicle with gunshot wounds and was declared dead at the scene. His body was later taken for an autopsy, stated Forrest County Coroner Lisa Klem. The Hattiesburg Police Department continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

Joining the police and emergency responders at the scene were Southern Miss head coach Will Hall and other university officials. The university issued a statement expressing sympathy and announcing the availability of counseling services for students affected by Daniels’ death. “The University of Southern Mississippi and the Department of Athletics mourn the loss of M.J. Daniels, whose life was lost Tuesday evening during an incident that occurred off campus,” the statement read. “We send condolences to his family, friends, and teammates during this difficult time.”

Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker also expressed his condolences. He encouraged the community to extend support to Daniels’ family and the Southern Miss community. “This is a terrible situation. Please offer your thoughts, prayers, and support to the Daniels family, his friends, the Southern Miss football team, and the entire university. Hattiesburg is like a family, and Southern Miss is essential to our community,” Barker said.

Daniels, standing 6-foot-2 and weighing 195 pounds, played his first two college seasons at Ole Miss (University of Mississippi) before transferring to Southern Miss in 2023. The senior recorded 28 tackles, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles during the previous season and was expected to start as a safety for the forthcoming season.

The Hattiesburg Police Department has taken into custody three suspects, including two juveniles, in connection with Daniels’ death. Orlando May, 18, Allen Marcus Gardner, 17, and Samir Green, 16, are currently facing charges of capital murder and attempted carjacking.

Caliber Living, the parent company of the Ivy Row housing complex, has expressed its deep sorrow over the incident and confirmed its cooperation with the ongoing investigation. The company extended its condolences to Daniels’ family and assured residents of its commitment to their safety.

As the investigation continues, the Southern Miss community fondly remembers Daniels for his contributions on the field and his character off it. “He was a bright young man with a promising future ahead of him,” said James Ray, Daniels’ former coach at George County High School. “His loss is deeply felt by everyone who knew him.”

The Hattiesburg Police Department is urging anyone with information about the incident to come forward to assist in the investigation.

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