Local News

Friends, Classmates Mourn Loss Of Franklin County Athlete

Posted January 17, 2005 4:22 a.m. EST

— Franklin County authorities are investigating Saturday's fatal shooting of a popular basketball and football player for Bunn High School.

Marc Philippeaux was shot and killed at a party Saturday night after his team won a big game.

There was no school Monday at Bunn High School because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, but grief counselors were at the school to help students cope with Philippeaux's death. The girls' basketball team cancelled their practice Monday.

"It brings such sadness to the heart to see that he isn't ever going to be able... to go to college or have kids -- none of the stuff he should have been able to do," said Blair Wright, a sophomore and a member of the girl's basketball team.

On the football team, he's known as No. 81-- a 6-foot-5-inch force of velocity and vigor. Those who knew him say it's how Philippeaux tackled everything in life.

"He wanted to do the best he could in everything he was doing," said Gerald Melton, Philippeaux's basketball coach. "He worked so hard, came in every day with a smile, just pleasant to coach."

Saturday night, Philippeaux and his basketball teammates were all smiles after a huge win -- and came to a house party to celebrate the victory. More than 100 others helped them celebrate.

"I've been told that he didn't attend these parties often, but due to a big win, and to a good ball game, he decided to go," said Jerry Jones, Franklin County Sheriff.

The sheriff's office says Charles Mayo, Elliot Hazelwood, and Antoine Perry started a fight at the party and that one of them randomly fired a gun -- similar to an AK-47 -- into the crowd, hitting Philippeaux and killing him instantly.

"It's like a movie -- I just can't believe that something like this is happening at our school -- and now it's happening," said Vita Cotten, sophomore and a member of the girls' basketball team.

"He was a super nice kid, just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Jones said.

All three suspects are in custody and are charged with first degree murder. Police said Philippeaux did not know his assailants.