The Texas man jailed on a first-degree murder complaint in connection with the shooting death of a transgender woman last month did not play football at Texas College as previously reported, according to a coach a the school.

Carlton Champion, a student at Texas College, was arrested Jan. 29 by the Tyler Police Department after an investigation revealed that he killed 24-year-old Ty Underwood on Jan. 26 just hours after a disagreement.

Tyler police officials referenced that Champion was a member of the Texas College football team, citing information the department gathered from a person who knew Underwood.

“A police department employee who knew Underwood said the man played football Texas College, according to an article published in the Tyler Morning Telegraph. “It was at that point that investigators connected the dots and confirmed that Champion, in fact, played football for the school.”

Leonard Smith, a football coach at Texas College, refuted the report that Champion had been a member of the team.

“We provide(d) a roster to the police and showed them that he was not on our team this past fall,” Smith told HBCU Sports. “He (Champion) was trying out this semester just like other kids but he has not played in a game for us.”

Smith said he wanted to correct any misinformation to preserve the schools image that has historically had “a bad reputation in Tyler.”

“I guess they (Tyler police) talk(ed) to other students and ran with it.”

Champion remains held in the Gregg County jail in lieu of $1 million bond.

Kendrick Marshall
Editor for HBCU Sports, award-winning journalist, and a graduate of Jackson State University.

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