Suspect in custody in shooting death of Jefferson High football standout outside

A 17-year-old killed overnight in a shooting at Sugarloaf Mills Mall in Gwinnett County was a star wide receiver at Jefferson High School, according to the football team’s official Twitter account. A suspect has since been taken into custody.

Gwinnett County police said the shooting happened near the Dave & Buster’s entrance at the Sugarloaf Mills. Investigators were at the scene gathering evidence, reviewing surveillance video, and speaking to witnesses on Wednesday night.

The victim was identified by police as 17-year-old Elijah DeWitt. 

Late Thursday afternoon, police said one person was taken into custody out of state in connection to DeWitt’s shooting death. Investigators believe it was not a random encounter and that the two may have known each other. The name of the suspect has not been released.

The Jefferson Dragons football team shared the community’s grief.

“The DeWitt family is in our thoughts and prayers,” the tweet stated.

“It was devastating,” said Head Coach at Jefferson High Travis Noland. Noland says they canceled practice and instead had the team came together to support one another as they try to process the loss of this stellar athlete and person.

“We just met, hugged, cried, spent time together,” said Noland.

“He was a good person, he was an ultimate warrior when it came to the game of football,” Noland shared. “He had a great future in front of him and was the type of guy you want in your locker room and on your team.”

Police said Dave & Busters was open at the time of the shooting, but investigators don’t know if the teen was inside Dave & Busters at some point that night. 

“Currently detectives are exploring all motives,” Gwinnett County police spokesperson Hideshi Valle said. “We do not know what led up to the shooting.”

DeWitt’s performance on the field was featured several times on High 5 Sports, including the Game of the Week during Week Six when the Dragons beat Clarke Central High School.

He made a highlight-worthy touchdown catch against St. Pius X on Sept. 2.

Noland says DeWitt’s dream was to play college football. 

His profile on showed he had an offer to play college football at Arkansas State. 

“He said coach I want to make you proud because I want to make my city proud bc he was really proud to be a Jefferson Dragon,” the coach said.

Jefferson City Schools was off this week for their fall break. The Dragons also were on a bye week.

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