18-year-old charged in shooting of Washburn football player from Lee’s Summit

An 18-year-old was charged Friday in the shooting death of a Washburn University football player from Lee’s Summit.

Francisco A. Mendez was charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and five counts of aggravated robbery, Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay said.

On April 28, Topeka police responded to a shooting near Washburn’s campus.

They located 23-year-old Dwane Simmons lying in the street. He was pronounced dead.

A short time later, a second victim arrived at a local hospital with a gunshot wound. He was identified as 23-year-old Corey Ballentine, who had recently been drafted by the New York Giants. Ballentine was expected to make a full recovery.

During the investigation, police connected the shooting to two robberies that took place April 27 and April 30, Kagay said.

Simmons, who graduated from Lee’s Summit West, was a mass media major at Washburn. He played defensive back for the Washburn Ichabods, beginning in 2015.

The day of the killing, Dwane Simmons’ father called the shooting senseless.

“This shattered a lot of people,” Navarro Simmons said.

Mendez’s bond was set at $1 million.

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Katie Moore covers crime and justice issues for The Star. She is a University of Kansas graduate and was previously a reporter in her hometown of Topeka, Kansas.