Tony Martin: 19-year-old MSU track athlete and state long jump record holder killed in gas station shooting
A promising track athlete was tragically shot and killed in Michigan over the weekend.
Tony Martin, 19, was shot along with two other people at a gas station in Saginaw shortly before 2:30 am on Sunday, July 19. Saginaw Police said the other two victims were Ricky Howard Morgan, 22, who was also killed, and an unnamed 25-year-old female who survived after being shot in the arm.
Police said the shooting incident is being investigated as a double homicide. Martin is remembered as a beloved member of his community and a rising track star at Michigan State University. Speaking to USA Today, Martin's high school coach DeEddie Sanders said that his sudden demise left him "in shock."
"(We were) pretty close. He loved track. He was a good guy, never got in trouble," Sanders said.
Fellow student-athletes held a memorial for Martin on the MSU campus on Monday afternoon, where they released green balloons with tributes and messages for the track star. Former MSU athlete Asya Reynolds spoke at the event, noting that Martin "deserved to be celebrated."
"This should not happen to our people all the time and I wish there was something that we could do to change what’s going on in the world," she added, according to the Detriot Free Press.
Martin reportedly still holds the record for long jump with the Michigan High School Athletic Association at an impressive 26 feet, 6 inches.
"If it came to track, or anything, he put his mind to it that he was going to get it done," Martin's track teammate Jaiden Paris told the Free Press. "He was a good person, he was quiet. A lot of people didn’t understand him, but I guess that’s just their loss for not taking the time to get to know Tony."
Xzavier Odom, another teammate who spoke at the memorial, said he wanted Martin to be remembered as "well rounded."
“I felt as though he looked up to me,” Odom said. “I want people to remember that he was well rounded … tried to perfect his art and his craft with track and field, cared and loved for his son, tried to provide for his mother, tried to do everything that was right and it was just unfortunate that tragedy came across like this.”
During his freshman year at MSU, Martin also competed in the 60-meter and 200-meter sprint events, as per Bleacher Report. In a tweet on Sunday, the university offered its condolences to the athlete's devastated family.
Meanwhile, Martin's MSU coaches Walt Drenth and Yolanda Johnson told student-athletes that it was time to "make a change."
“You have the opportunity to make a change, and you have to start utilizing that opportunity to make this change,” Johnson said. “They have more power than they even understand or care to know, and I’m just going to reassure that over and over. We’ll make sure that Tony’s death was not in vain.”
“You are in this spot for a reason, and you have to turn it into a gift," Drenth added. "Please turn this tragedy into some sort of gift, whether it be for his child, family, or someone we don’t even know about."