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Bowie football player was likely trying to break up fight when he was fatally shot, police say

Anthony Strather Jr., 17, was involved in a mentoring program called Coach 5-0, in which police officers mentor student athletes.
Credit: WFAA
Anthony Strather Jr., 17, was shot and killed October 17, 2019. He was a football player and student at Bowie High School in Arlington, Texas. (Photo via Hudl)

ARLINGTON, Texas — The high school football player killed in a shooting Thursday was likely trying to break up the fight when he and his friend were shot, according to Arlington police.

Lt. Chris Cook said those details came from witness information. He also said there is cell phone video from a witness, but it wouldn’t be released to the public unless police were not able to easily identify those in it.

Anthony Strather Jr., 17, was shot and killed around 4 p.m. Thursday. Two other people were injured, including another student.

RELATED: High school student killed, 2 others injured in Arlington, police say

Cook added that Strather, who is known to his family as 'Tony,' was involved in a mentoring program called Coach 5-0, in which police officers mentor student athletes.

“He’s been a part of several conversations we’ve had where police officers mentor young people as a football team,” Cook said. “Sounds like a very well-liked kid that played football for Bowie." 

Strather’s grandfather, Lawrence Smith, who was raising Strather and his younger brother, railed Friday against gun violence.

“Violence doesn’t work. Gun violence doesn’t work. That’s what’s permeating our community and this country,” Smith said. “And until we come to grips with that, you’re going to see the same incident my grandson faced.”

Smith said Strather was a great kid who “would do anything for his friends and his teammates.” He said Strather loved playing football and had goals of becoming a football coach one day, and perhaps even playing at the collegiate level.

“For any parent to lose a child that age… it’s not good,” Smith said. “And it’s devastating to a family. It’s devastating to my family.”

Friday afternoon, students at Arlington Bowie planned to release balloons in Strather’s honor ahead of the 7 p.m. football game that Strather would have played in.

Arlington ISD confirmed Friday the second teenager who was shot was also a Bowie student, but wouldn’t release more than that.

The Bowie head football coach Danny DeArman his staff and players won't be speaking before or after the game, but DeArman did release a statement:

“We are absolutely heartbroken to have lost a best friend, loving brother and loyal teammate in Tony Strather. We are hurting as a Bowie family, and, as we grieve as a team, we will take the field tonight and play in honor of Tony. We appreciate all of the care, concern and prayers shared with our Bowie Vols, and I know we will continue to need that support in the coming weeks. We hope you extend those prayers to Tony’s family.”

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