Roommate Charged in Stabbing Death of Tenn. Basketball Player.
The campus of Middle Tennessee State University was in mourning today after police charged a roommate in the fatal stabbing of women’s basketball player Tina Stewart.
Stewart, a 21-year-old junior guard from Memphis, died Wednesday night at Middle Tennessee Medical Center after being stabbed multiple times at an off-campus apartment complex, police said today.Stewart’s roommate, 18-year-old freshman Shanterrica Madden, has been charged with first-degree murder. “There was an argument,” Murfreesboro police spokesman Kyle Evans told The Daily News Journal of Murfreesboro. “During that argument, Madden stabbed the victim.”
Reached by phone today at the Memphis home of Stewart’s parents, her aunt Diane Williams said the family is going through a “very hard time” but is “doing OK.” She told AOL News that Stewart’s parents, Ida and Adrian Jackson, are at the university.
Murfreesboro police told AOL News today that they received an anonymous phone call Wednesday night about a disturbance and responded to Stewart’s apartment. Evans said Stewart’s boyfriend, whom he would not identify, was at the scene outside the apartment when police arrived but is not a suspect in her slaying. And he said rumors that the altercation stemmed from a love triangle were false.The 26,000-student public university was devastated by the news.
"The anguish we feel cannot be adequately expressed," university President Sidney McPhee said in a statement posted on the school’s website.
He said grief counselors were being made available, and a vigil was planned for tonight. A memorial was set up on campus for people to leave expressions of their feelings.
"Our hearts are heavy with grief and our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family," he said.
Athletic Director Chris Massaro called Stewart’s death an incredible loss. “She was a great kid, she was a fighter and she was a competitor,” he told The News Journal. “When I think of her right now, I think of her smile and grin. She would light up a room. It’s hard to describe, it’s hard for me to find words. I wish you all could have got to know her.”
On a university memorial page set up in Stewart’s honor, friends and fellow athletes expressed their grief. “You will definitely be missed Tina. I’ll miss seeing you on my way to practice and in the training room ♥ love you,” Jamarious Jones, a Middle Tennessee State University varsity track and field runner, wrote today.
Stewart averaged 5.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 28 games this season. Her team, the Blue Raiders, is the No. 1 seed from the East and is scheduled to play in the Sun Belt Conference tournament Friday. So far, there are no plans to pull out of the tournament, but Massaro said that could change.
"We’re scheduled to leave Friday, but all of that is secondary right now," he said Wednesday night, according to The Commercial Appeal. "Right now, there’s no decision, nothing. It’s not even been addressed."
Stewart graduated from Memphis Central High in 2008, where she was a star guard on the school’s basketball team.
Middle Tennessee State University women’s basketball coach Rick Insell called the death “a coach’s nightmare,” according to the newspaper.
Police said they have no other suspects.