A former football player at Buffalo State was shot in Queens, New York, on Monday afternoon after an altercation at a liquor store. Malachi Capers, 20, a former defensive end for the Division III school, was critically injured in the shooting. The incident occurred when a fight that had started outside the store spilled into the street. The shooter, identified at Jeffrey Thurston, left the scene after shooting Capers.
Great kid, hard-worker, his teammates loved him," Buffalo State Football head coach Christian Ozolins said in a statement via WKBW. "The recruiting process is all about me, me, me. And it wasn't it was just about him being given the opportunity and you don't see many kids with that initiative and roll the dice." On Wednesday afternoon, NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison announced Thurston was in custody. As for Capers, he's expected to survive.
"Malachi is one of those teammates you know you can always count to you know get the job done…he doesn't talk too much, he's more of a I don't talk a lot, but I let my playing show," teammate and Bengals wide receiver Naseer Jackson said WKBW. Another former teammate was also surprised to see the video. Jackson also said the first thing he did was "pray" and just hope "it all works out. Jackson also noted that despite Jackson not being on the team, "it's a brotherhood. we're family."
Capers, who is from Queens, took a 14-hour round-trip on a Greyhound bus from New York City to Buffalo to visit Ozolins with the hope of playing football. He was able to get a roster spot, but a shoulder injury ended his football future. Buffalo State was looking to have a bounce-back 2020 season after winning only one game last year. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fall sports for Buffalo State have been suspended.
"Throughout the pandemic, some of the most difficult decisions we have made as a campus are when we limit, cancel, or postpone signature experiences for our students and student-athletes," Buffalo State's president, Katherine Conway-Turner, said in a statement. "We had all hoped that our Bengals would be roaring in competition in this fall, but that is simply just not feasible or safe at this time."