Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson was troubled by the shooting death of a young girl in his home state over the weekend, telling local media Wednesday he intends to pay for her funeral.
Ja’Naiya Scott, 11, was shot inside her Anderson, S.C. home early Sunday morning after someone reportedly fired at the residence more than 35 times. She sustained a gunshot wound to the right shoulder which severed her subclavian artery, causing major blood loss and eventually her death, USA Today reported, citing the Anderson County Coroner’s Office.
The young girl’s death affected many community members, including Lawson who grew up in Central, S.C., which is about 20 miles north of where the shooting took place.
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“It could have been my little sister,” he told The Greenville News late Wednesday. “I’ve got a little sister around that age, and it could have been one of my family members.”
Lawson said he also spoke to Ja’Naiya’s mother whose “heart was hurting.”
“I was so speechless I couldn’t saying anything,” he told the outlet. “I felt for her pain. I felt the pain, too. I felt like any way I could possibly help out, I was going to do that. It hit my heart.”
Ja’Naiya’s family confirmed the news at a vigil Wednesday.
Anderson Police were called to a residence in the 1200 block of West End Avenue at around 1:30 a.m. Sunday after receiving reports of several shooting victims. Once on the scene, they discovered three victims wounded inside the home, including another 11-year-old girl, an 18-year-old woman and Ja’Naiya.
All three were transported to AnMed Health Medical Center where Ja’Naiya was pronounced dead on arrival. The youngest victim was still listed in critical condition as of Monday.
“Along with the community, we continue to hold all of the victims and their families in our prayers,” Anderson Police Department said in a statement.
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The case is being investigated by the Anderson Police Homicide Unit while the Narcotics Officers and Street Crimes Units canvas the area for witnesses.
Police have not said what caused Sunday morning’s shooting, and no suspects have been named.
Lawson grew up in South Carolina and played football at Clemson University before being drafted by the Bills in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.