MADELEINE BRAND, host:
This is DAY TO DAY. I'm Madeleine Brand.
A star player for the Denver Broncos was killed in a drive-by shooting early this morning. Cornerback Darrent Williams was killed when a car pulled up alongside the limo Williams was in, spraying it with bullets.
Arnie Stapleton covers the Broncos for the Associated Press in Denver. He joins us now from just outside the Broncos headquarters. And tell us, do you now anything more about the case so far? Are there any suspects?
Mr. ARNIE STAPLETON (Associated Press): No, they don't have a suspect right now. They're interviewing witnesses and trying to determine exactly where Darrent Williams and his party was, prior to the shooting. There's a speculation that there was an altercation at a nightclub, and that Darrent left to get out of harm's way, so to speak. And left and was followed. And as he was driving, while he was in the back of a stretch limo, a Hummer in downtown Denver, and a vehicle pulled up and sprayed the limousine with bullets.
BRAND: And were other people injured?
Mr. STAPLETON: There was a man and a woman, and right now, we don't know who they are who were wounded in the attack. We're not sure who they are. They were taken to the hospital. Darrent was pronounced dead at the scene. This was a little after 2 a.m. this morning.
BRAND: And I understand earlier in the day, his team had narrowly lost.
STAPLETON: Yeah, just hours earlier, the Broncos, all they needed to do was win or tie and they lost to the San Francisco 49ers in over time, which knocked them out of the playoff race and ended their season.
BRAND: So is there a speculation that that might have been a motive?
STAPLETON: Right now, that's all speculation. There's no indication yet if that was maybe what might have triggered the altercation. The police are still trying to figure out, you know, what was the motive, and obviously, they're looking for suspects. But as of right now, they do not know who might have done it and why?
BRAND: And tell us a bit about Darrent Williams. I understand he was a promising up and comer for the team.
STAPLETON: Yes, he was, you know. He was the cornerback opposite Champ Bailey in the Bronco's defense and of course, Champ is the best cornerback in football and maybe ever, so he had quite a mentor to learn from. And with him and Champ Bailey, the Broncos considered themselves lucky to have the best cornerback tandem in football.
BRAND: Although the team obviously didn't make the playoffs, they will be affected in the future by the loss of him.
STAPLETON: Oh, absolutely. Aside from the emotional impact that this killing is going to have, you know, and putting a pall on their organization for months, if not years. As a practical matter, they're going to have to replace a player and a position that they figured to be filled for years to come. So this has a ripple effect on the entire plans for the off season, because now, they're going to have to focus on a position that they were figured to be set with for several years.
The team is really in a state of shock. You know, obviously, they were disappointed last night at their stunning loss that knocked them from the playoffs, and they were going to take today off, players and coaches alike, and show up tomorrow for exit interviews and clean out their lockers and then go their separate ways in the off season.
And some of them now are gathering at the hospital, others are gathering - I mean, Darrent's mother, who's flying in from Fort Worth, to go to the coroner's office. So right now, they're more or less dealing with the shock of what happened.
BRAND: And any funeral plans or memorial services?
STAPLETON: I don't believe they've gotten into any memorial plans or funeral arrangements yet. This all happened about 2:00 this morning, Mountain Time, 2:30 in the morning. And you know, the team began finding out about it, players and coaches alike, you know, in the last several hours. And they're kind of trickling in to the hospital where his body was taken, and kind of gathering there for each other and, you know, jus trying to lend each other some support in the tragedy.
BRAND: Arnie Stapleton writes about the Denver Broncos for the Associated Press. Thanks for joining us.
STAPLETON: You're welcome.
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