Bible teacher Priscilla Shirer has urged believers to join her in prayer after a teenage member Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, led by her father, Pastor Tony Evans, was fatally shot.
“Family, would you please pray for the family of @TonyEvansJr1 — a talented 17-year-old athlete who was a member of our church. He was killed this past Sunday. He had a promising future at the University of Wyoming this fall. I can only imagine this devastation for his parents. Jesus, mercy,” she wrote.
Evans, a Lancaster High School senior and Wyoming football recruit, was fatally shot at a party that took place at a Hawthorn Suites hotel in the Stemmons Corridor, police said in a statement. The teen was gunned down by an unknown suspect inside Room 221 at the hotel. A motive in the slaying is unclear, police said.
Evans’ mother, Aretha Evans, told Dallas News that her son was a devout Christian who prayed daily and loved to sing and drive his car.
“We are on an emotional rollercoaster,” she said. “Our son’s life was abruptly ended. We have been left broken-hearted. Pray for us to have strength as we prepare to lay our beloved Tony Evans Jr. to rest.”
Evans reportedly had a baby boy due to be born on May 15. His friends told Dallas News that the teen's unborn child was his motivation to finish college at Wyoming and make it to the NFL.
The teen had just signed a national letter of intent in February to play football at the University of Wyoming. As a senior wide receiver, he had 13 catches for 268 yards and four touchdowns for Lancaster High School last season.
“He wanted everything to work out,” Evans’ friend Rodney Hudson told the newspaper. “And he was going to have a breakout season. That’s what he did. Whatever he told me, he did.”
The University of Wyoming’s football program released a written statement Sunday afternoon, expressing sadness over the news of Evans’ death.
“Our hearts are with the Evans family as they go through this incredibly difficult time,” head coach Craig Bohl said. “We are so sad to hear of Tony’s passing. We have been in contact with Tony’s family and are here to support them in any way we can.”
On Instagram, Shirer, a mother of three boys, said that both Evans’ death and the fatal police shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Minnesota had forced her family to have tough conversations. She stressed that "something's gotta change...Now."
“I’m absorbing my sons faces as they take in & talk to us abt the deaths of #dauntewright & @tonyevansjr_ (No relation) - young black men around the same age as my three boys, both shot & killed this week. Tony was a member of our church, 17 year old talented athlete, slated to play football at University of Wyoming this fall."
"The circumstances of these two tragedies were different, but the outcomes were the same.
"They are both gone. My husband & I have held our boys close, had hard but necessary discussions (that we’ve had many times before) & we have prayed together for these families. The loss. The heart ache. As I stare into these faces underneath the roof of my own house, I cannot imagine this grief. Something’s gotta change. Not later. Not someday. Now.”