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Monday, July 12, 2004
Nigerian athlete slain in dispute at US gas station
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Nigerian athlete slain in dispute at US gas station
- Chief Charles O. Okereke

Michael Erokwu, a 22-year-old Nigerian athlete was fatally shot Sunday morning after an accident in Dallas, Texas. The deceased had gone to buy fuel for his car after a night out with friends and relatives. Erokwu's friends and relatives rode in a different car behind him for the fuel refill. Erokwu pulled his sport utility vehicle into a gas station at Arapaho and Dallas Parkway at about 3 a.m. hitting another car.

Dallas police Sgt. Joe DeCorte said there was an exchange of words between the two men according to reports. "What was said, we don't know", Sgt. Joe DeCorte was quoted as saying. Erokwu's company(friends and relatives) said he offered to pay for the damage, but the man in the other car shot him in the back and thigh.

The assailant fled the scene immediately after the shooting. Erokwu was rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Dallas police identified the runaway car as a gray 1966 or 1967 Chevrolet Impala possibly with chrome wheels. The suspect driving the Impala was described as a black man in his 20s, about 6 feet tall weighing 180 pounds or so.

Michael Erokwu, was a senior left tackle for Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls. It was his dream to play professional football according to friends and associates. Midwestern State, a Division II school, was receiving calls from pro teams about Erokwu according to reports.

"Because of his size alone, some people had called about him," said Andy Austin, Midwestern State's sports information director. "Anybody that plays as much as he did is a key player," he added. Pro teams callers reportedly always referred to him as the 6-foot-6, 365-pound lineman.

Erokwu's mother is expected from Nigeria before funeral arrangements would be made.

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