NEW YORK – A triumphant St. Lucian soccer player whose winning goal put his team in the final of a tournament for Caribbean teams has been shot and killed in a tragic end to an evening out celebrating.
Isidore Phillip Tisson scored in his team's 1-0 win Sunday over St. Kitts in New York City, his coach, Mitchel Daniel, said Monday.
Tisson "had an awesome presence on the field and was a very gentle person," Daniel said. "He was addicted to soccer."
The shooting occurred early Monday in Brooklyn, where Tisson had spent the night celebrating with friends and family. At about 4:30 a.m., he was a passenger with four women in a car that stopped for him to buy water and fruit from a shop.
When the 27-year-old Tisson returned and got into the back seat, a gunman came up, wordlessly pointed a weapon through the window and shot him in the head at point-blank range.
The women fled in the car and flagged down a police cruiser, which escorted them to a nearby hospital, where Tisson was pronounced dead. A woman seated next to Tisson at the time of the shooting was hospitalized in stable condition with a graze wound on the shoulder caused by the bullet.
A .45-caliber shell casing was recovered from the car. Police had no motive, and there were no arrests.
Nothing unusual happened at the game, in which Tisson scored 15 minutes into the second half, the coach said.
"There was no animosity," Daniel said. "It was all about bringing people together."
Tisson was a substitute defender for his country's national team when it failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. He had been in New York the past several weeks — his first trip to the city — playing for a St. Lucia club team in the Digicel Caribbean Cup, a tournament sponsored by cell phone operator Digicel and played at a Brooklyn high school.
The team featured eight St. Lucian national team players and other players of St. Lucian descent from local club teams. With the win over St. Kitts, St. Lucia advanced to the final on Sept. 5 against Jamaica, Daniel said.
"We'll be playing for Phillip," the coach said. "That's what he would have wanted."