By Ryan Gaydos
Published July 15, 2019
Francisco Alejanero Mendez, 18, was charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and five counts of aggravated battery in the April 18 shooting, the Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
Ballentine and Dwane Simmons, who were both football players at Washburn University, were outside an off-campus house party hours after the Giants selected Ballentine when a gunman opened fire from a vehicle, killing Simmons and wounding Ballentine. The Giants’ draft pick has since recovered.
Washburn coach Craig Schurig told the Topeka Capital-Journal he called Ballentine to inform him a man was arrested in the shooting.
“You could tell there was a relief in his voice,” Schurig said. “It just helps — it helps to know that the people responsible are starting to get caught. And this is a big step. It was nice to be able to communicate with him some really good news.”
Schurig also said he texted Simmons’ father, Navarro, earlier Friday.
“You can't imagine what the Simmons family is going through, but today is a very good day,” he said.
Mendez was being held on $1 million bond.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.