On Sunday night, Florida A&M football coach Willie Simmons Tweeted a message about “God’s grace and mercy.”
Simmons noted that his family had not lost anyone or anything.
Yet the Simmons family was struck by tragedy, the Rattlers’ coach confirmed Monday in multiple media reports.
Simmons’ son, Louis Tre Zanders, was shot outside of his Tallahassee, Florida, home in the early-morning hours Sunday.
God’s grace and mercy IS sufficient! We have not “lost” anyone or anything! Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers! 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
— Coach Willie Simmons (@HCWillieSimmons) February 22, 2021
Zanders was admitted to a nearby hospital for treatment.
“Our family has been vocal advocates against gun violence in our community and unfortunately the issue has now impacted us on an even more personal level. We appreciate your prayers and ask that you give our family time to support our son as he recovers from his injuries. We as a community must work together to ensure that other families do not have to endure the senseless trauma of gun violence we now face.” The Simmons and Zanders families, in a statement to ABC27.
Zanders’ townhome is near the FAMU campus and the football home of his father’s program, Bragg Memorial Stadium.
The Simmons and Zanders families have been active in anti-violence work in the city of Tallahassee, Florida’s state capitol.
The Tallahassee Democrat named Simmons its 2019 Person of the Year for his investment in community relations and work to decrease violence in the city.
But last fall, the Tallahassee Police Department revealed that violent crimes in the city “increased by approximately 78% during the months of August, September and October compared to the same period in 2019.”
Simmons’ wife, Shaia, posted the following message on Facebook:
“Thank you for all who are reaching out. We simply cannot respond to all the outpouring of love and care we are receiving right now but we will when we can.
“A special and eternal THANK YOU to our son’s brave friend who saved his life with quick thinking. One of the last things Tre remembers is his friend pleading with medical staff to please not let him die.
“In a small space of time as Tre stood in his own front yard being a typical, fun-loving college kid, trouble found him. BUT GOD intervened of behalf of my sweet child and saw fit to spare him.
“Our beautiful son is a living testimony! In seconds, it didn’t matter how we raised him, his high GPA as a graduating college senior, his service in the community, his love for his family, his kindness to animals, his plans for law school this fall….it didn’t matter that he doesn’t hang with the “wrong crowd” or that he doesn’t engage in criminal activity.
“Fam, one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life was not knowing, when my son FaceTimed me as he was rushed to the hospital, if that was the last time I’d ever talk to him. Please know it doesn’t matter where you live, where you worship, the degrees you have, the salary you make….ALL OF US ARE THREATENED BY THE GUN VIOLENCE IN OUR COMMUNITY and we all have to figure out together how to stop this. #TreStrong #ButGod”