POWDER SPRINGS, Ga. — A high school football star who had been signed to play at Vanderbilt University was shot to death Thursday by his mother’s ex-boyfriend, police said.
Officers heard gunshots as they arrived at the home where Rajaan Bennett, 18, lived with his mother, Powder Springs Lt. Matt Boyd said. Inside they found Bennett, a running back at McEachern High School, dead of a gunshot wound.
Boyd said Clifton Steager, 39, of Milledgeville shot Bennett and then killed himself. Bennett’s uncle, Taiwan Hunter, 32, was wounded and underwent surgery. He was in serious condition Thursday afternoon.
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Sports Deaths Of 2009
It was not clear what prompted the shooting.
“Rajaan was an extraordinary young man and an ideal fit for Vanderbilt University,” Vanderbilt football coach Bobby Johnson said in a statement. “Initially, our thoughts and prayers are with his mother Narjaketha and family members. I know he meant so much to them.”
Bennett, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., rushed for 1,857 yards and 28 touchdowns last season for McEachern.
McEachern football coach Kyle Hockman called Bennett, listed by Vanderbilt as 5-11, 210 pounds, “one of the best ever.”