Former athlete at Purnell Swett shot to death

No arrests in murder

By Sarah Willets -

MAXTON — A 22-year-old shot and killed at a party in Maxton this weekend was a former standout football player and basketball player at Purnell Swett High School.

Tyrell McDonald, of Vann Street, died at Scotland Memorial Hospital after deputies found him lying in the parking lot of Sarah’s Place on South Patterson Street with a gunshot wound early Sunday morning, according to Randall Graham, with the Sheriff’s Office.

McDonald attended Purnell Swett High School, where he played football and basketball and was named to The Robesonian’s All-County football team during his junior year in 2011. During the 10th grade, he split his time between the varsity and junior varsity basketball teams.

Jeremy Sampson, who was McDonald’s basketball coach at Purnell Swett High School, remembered him Monday as always respectful and always wearing a smile.

“I’ve never had one of my players die,” he said. “It’s a sad time.”

Mark Heil, who coached McDonald in football at Purnell Swett, said McDonald was “really talented” and never failed to get the job done on the field.

“He was just a fun person to be around,” Heil said. “Anytime we took guys on college visits, we took him with us. He loved to come over to the house to watch football with us … He was always special to me because he liked being around the football staff.”

Graham said about 200 people were attending a party at Sarah’s Place when a fight broke out and shots were fired. The shooting was reported at about 2:30 a.m.

McDonald’s reputation — and nickname, Kat Daddy — preceeded him when Sampson went to work at Purnell Swett.

“He was an excellent athlete in middle school,” Sampson said. A 2011 story in The Robesonian described McDonald catching a 42-yard touchdown pass “with a cyborgish acrobatic grab.”

When deputies arrived, they administered CPR to McDonald until Emergency Medical Services arrived. A woman, 37-year-old Kissie Braddy of Fancy Drive, Maxton, was shot and injured. She had been treated and released from a hospital by Monday. No other injuries were reported and no arrests have been made.

“It’s a shame because he was too good of a young man,” Heil said. “It’s not right. This is not the way that a life is supposed to go.”

A Facebook profile says McDonald was living in Chapel Hill. According to Sampson, he had a young son.

“He’s going to be missed. He wasn’t a perfect young man, he had some issues, but everybody liked him. He wanted to do well in life,” Sampson said. ” … He could have been one of the best players to come out of Purnell Swett if he had lived up to his potential.”

Anyone with information should call sheriff’s Detective Damien McLean at 910-671-3100.
No arrests in murder

By Sarah Willets

Sarah Willets can be reached at 910-816-1974 or on Twitter @Sarah_Willets. Jonathan Bym contributed to this report.

Sarah Willets can be reached at 910-816-1974 or on Twitter @Sarah_Willets. Jonathan Bym contributed to this report.

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