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Ex-Athens hoops star killed in shooting

From staff, AP reports

HUNTSVILLE — A man eating at a TGI Friday's restaurant pulled a gun and opened fire, killing a former Athens High basketball star, Huntsville police said Monday.

Three others were wounded in the shooting.

Police said Jamal Roydrick Woods, 21, of Huntsville, was arrested early Monday in a vehicle and charged with murder in the death of Tanqueray "Tank" Lavonacheke Beavers, 21, a former standout basketball player at Athens High School.

Police spokesman Wendell Johnson said Woods was at a table with three friends at about 9:10 p.m. Sunday when he became angry at another customer for looking at his female companion.

"According to witnesses, Woods approached the man, asked him a question, then pulled out a gun and allegedly shot Beavers and three others," Johnson said in a statement.

Athens High basketball Coach Venard Hendrix said Beavers, the school's all-time assists leader, was one of the best point guards the program ever had.

"We were 34 and 2 his senior year. That's the best record Athens High School ever had, and he was a huge part of that," Hendrix said.

"He was just a great person, really fun to be around. He was a competitor and always wanted to win, and that really came out. ... He really meant a lot to our Athens basketball program, and especially to me. He was a member of the family," Hendrix said.

Hendrix said Beavers intended to return to school. He had left The University of Memphis after playing on scholarship for a semester.

"It was hard when I heard about it (the shooting). It's just one of those things that you wouldn't think would happen. It's a great shame and a tragedy that his life was cut short at this point, when he had so much to offer," Hendrix said.

Police identified the three people wounded in the shooting as Thurston Duran Turner, 27, of Athens, Autora Frias Rogers, 21, of Athens, and William Timothy Reliford, 33, of Hazel Green.

Johnson said one was in critical condition but declined to identify which one.

He also said the restaurant was "well-occupied" and that a customer who was not at the table Woods approached was among the wounded. He declined to identify the bystander.

Woods and the three friends who had been with him at a table fled the popular restaurant on University Drive, with the three friends tracked to a hotel by a Huntsville police dog-tracking team. Johnson said they were detained and questioned.

Hours later, Johnson said, Woods was found in a vehicle in south Huntsville, arrested and booked on a murder charge.

He said the investigation is continuing and additional charges could be filed.

The TGI Friday's restaurant did not immediately reopen. Amy Freshwater, a manager at the restaurant, said police asked her not to comment on the shooting.

Copyright 2005 THE DECATUR DAILY. All rights reserved.
AP contributed to this report.

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