College Basketball Star with NBA Hopes is Charged with Murder, But Lawyer Claims Self-Defense
A college basketball star who recently declared for the NBA draft has been arrested on a felony murder charge — but his attorney says the shooting was an act of self-defense.
Teshaun Hightower was arrested on Saturday night in connection with the April 8 shooting of 24-year-old Devante Anthony Long. PEOPLE confirms Hightower was charged with felony murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and battery.
According to an arrest warrant obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, police accuse Hightower of being the shooter when a group of six men — including Hightower and his brother — confronted Long in a breezeway. The warrant states Long’s girlfriend saw Hightower holding the gun and heard gunshots.
“[She] said Teshaun pulled out a turquoise and black handgun out of his pocket,” the warrant states, according to the newspaper. “She ran into the apartment and hid behind the wall next to the door.”
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But an attorney for Hightower maintains his client’s innocence.
“He didn’t shoot anybody,” Averick Walker, Teshaun Hightower’s lawyer, told ESPN.com. “Teshaun’s brother actually fired the weapon and fired in self-defense. The victim came out of the house with a gun in his hand and turned his weapon toward Teshaun to shoot him. That’s why the victim was shot himself.”
Hightower, 20, is a junior at Tulane University. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he is originally from Lithonia, Georgia, and attended the University of Georgia for two years before transferring to Tulane.
On April 18, he announced that he was entering the NBA draft.
Tulane announced on Sunday afternoon that Hightower had been cut from the team after his arrest.
In a Facebook post, the Henry County Police Department is asking anyone with information on the shooting to come forward.