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FAMU Mourns the Loss of a Student Athlete

September 4, 2011

– Florida A&M University (FAMU) is mourning the loss of Shannon Washington, a student and women’s basketball player.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to Shannon’s family and members of the Lady Rattlers Basketball Team,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “For Shannon to be killed in the prime of her life is tragic and senseless. She had so much promise as a student athlete. This is a great loss for the university and our athletic program.”

The FAMU Student Government Association will have a vigil tonight at 8:30 p.m. at the FAMU Eternal Flame to celebrate the life of Washington.

According to the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD), they responded to a report of a stabbing at 3025 South Adams Street, Sunday, September 4, at approximately 2:03 a.m. Officers located the victim, Washington, in the apartment with a knife wound to her neck. The victim was initially treated by TPD officers on the scene until EMS arrived. She was then transported to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.

A suspect, Starquineshia Palmer, 20, was detained and transported to TPD where she was interviewed and subsequently charged with first degree murder. Palmer was visiting Washington for the weekend, noted TPD.

Washington was a standout basketball player at Illinois Valley Community College (IVCC) earning All-American honors both seasons at IVCC. A native of Sarasota, Fla., her success at IVCC earned her the distinction of having a replica of her jersey to be honored in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn. Washington transferred to FAMU and was expected to play this fall as a shooting guard.

“It is truly a trying situation to lose a student-athlete that has come to us to further her education and excel at her sport,” said LeDawn Gibson, FAMU’s Head Women’s Basketball Coach. “As a coach, this is the kind of incident you just hope you never have to deal with — the death of one of your players at such a young age.”

“The closeness of the students, coaches and staff at FAMU Athletics resembles that of a family,” said Derek Horne, FAMU’s director of Athletics. “Losing a family member is never easy. Our task now is to make sure we learn from this, and make as much effort at preparing our student athletes for all situations that may occur.”

TPD Victim Advocates have been working with the FAMU Athletic Department, and the victim’s teammates.

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