LANCASTER, Texas- A youth football game took a turn for the worst Sunday night when a brawl between coaches led to a deadly shooting.
The shooting happened just before 9 p.m. at the Lancaster Community Park, said Scott Finley, a spokesman for the city.
Yaqub Salik Talib, brother of former NFL Super Bowl champion Aqib Talib, has been identified as the suspect in the killing of youth football coach Mike Hickmon.
Eyewitnesses state that Talib and Hickmon were locked in a heated exchange after the game and even briefly brawled before Talib opened fire and killed Hickmon.
Ciciely Hickmon told CNN that her brother was coaching his son’s team when the gunfire erupted. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said. He leaves behind a wife, two daughters, a son and three grandchildren, Ciciely Hickmon said.
Mike was an amazing husband, son, father, grandfather, brother, friend and coach. Our family is grieving. Right now, we don’t see an end to our grief,” the family said in a statement. “We miss him immensely. We always will. We will love him forever.”
Hickmon, 43, was a coach for one of the teams and was looked at as a pillar in his community in Lancaster. Many in the area are left with a heavy heart in the wake of his loss.
"They took a great, a great person who wanted to help the community and wanted to better us as people," friend and fellow coach Heith Mayes said in an interview with CBS.
Mayes said that the gunfire caught him by surprise and called the incident an extreme overreaction.
"It was too extreme, I wasn't expecting that," Mayes said. "I was so close I thought I was shot."
The shooting occurred in front of a group of nine-year-old kids that were participating in the game, many of whom Mayes says are deeply scarred by the incident.
"Half of them couldn't sleep," Mayes said. "They've been crying, worried, don't want to play football. I mean, what can you expect? They're nine, they're babies."
Tevar Watson, who owns the team and was on another field cleaning up at the time of the shooting, was devastated to hear of the news.
“I think it’s all senseless, man. Yesterday was probably the worst day of my life man," he said. “Lost a good guy. What we call a standup guy, one of the guys that’s there for his family.”
Watson said roughly 80 kids, including Hickmon's son, were in the area when it happened.
Aqib Talib, the famous brother of the shooting suspect, was also at the game when the fatal shooting occurred.
His lawyer issued a statement to TMZ confirming that the former NFL player was present during the shooting and “is very distraught and devastated over this terrible loss of life.”
“He would like to convey his condolences to the family of the victim and to everyone who witnessed this unfortunate tragedy,” the statement said.
Aqib, who also has a history of violent outbursts and tenacious behavior, played nine seasons in the NFL. He was drafted in the first round by Tampa Bay in 2008 and won a Super Bowl championship with the Denver Broncos in 2016.
He retired from the NFL in 2020.
Mike Hickmon, the former coach who was tragically slain, was a former athletic standout in his own right.
Hickmon was a former running back for the University of North Texas and played all five of his collegiate seasons there.
Upon the news of his death, many of Mean Green alumni began sharing their condolences.
“Mike was a mentor for the younger guys,” former UNT quarterback Scott Hall said. “He was an old soul. Even in his 20s, he was very wise. He was calm, laid back, and had wise words for us, whether it was before or after a game.”
In five seasons at UNT, Hickmon carried for 718 yards and five touchdowns. His most notable year came in 1999 when he gained 302 yards on the ground. Three years later, UNT won its second Sun Belt championship with a 38-27 victory over New Mexico State thanks to a two-touchdown performance by Hickmon.
Yaqub Salik Talib, 39, has since turned himself into police custody. The incident remains under investigation, police said.