NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Iona College basketball recruit Michael Haynes was shot and killed Thursday in his hometown of Chicago, police said.
Haynes’ cousin, 25-year-old Kandice Blouin, told the Chicago Sun-Times the 22-year-old was shot while attempting to break up a fight.
Iona sent out a press release Friday morning and cited a Sun-Times report that the fight started because of a stolen necklace and occurred outside of Haynes' home.
According to the New York Daily News, Blouin said several men were shoving each other when Haynes pushed one of the men, who then pulled out a gun and shot him.
Police said he was shot in the wrist, chest and lower back at approximately 5:10 p.m., according to the Sun-Times and the Iona press release. Acquaintances dropped him off at MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island, where doctors declared him dead at approximately 6:25 p.m.
"It's just so hard," Iona head coach Tim Cluess told the Daily News. "I don't know how to describe it. Once you got to know Michael, you just couldn't wait to coach him. He came from a very rough area in Chicago and he just wanted to make a better life for himself. He was just looking for a chance to change his life."
The 6’7” power forward averaged 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds for Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa last season and was one of nine members of Iona’s 2012-13 recruiting class.
Blouin expressed devastation at the loss.
"He was an innocent victim, very loved by everybody," Blouin told the Sun-Times. "He was our meal ticket. He was going to heal this hood and they took his life."
Cluess expressed condolences in an official statement through Iona College.
“The Iona family is devastated with the news on Michael’s passing,” Cluess said. “His passion, energy and excitement for his opportunity this year makes this tragedy even more upsetting. Our sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Information from ESPN.com, New York Daily News and Iona College Athletics reports were used in this story.