NFL star and Apopka, Florida native Jalen Carter is doing his part and giving back to his community. The 22-year-old has covered the costs of mental health counseling for the Pop Warner youth football team.
As The Shade Room previously reported, a shooting occurred following the group’s football practice on the evening of October 2. Two 13-year-old players were left with gunshot wounds after being struck by an 11-year-old teammate.
RELATED: 11-Year-Old Florida Boy Arrested & Charged After Allegedly Shooting Two Football Teammates ‘Over A Bag Of Chips’
More Details Regarding Jalen Carter’s Initiative To Give Back
According to WESH, the Philadelphia Eagles’ Defensive Tackle donated a $5,000 check to the group Thursday night. The check covers the costs of mental health counseling for “Apopka Pop Warner players, their families, and members of the community.”
“We just make sure we remain positive and do things for kids coming up, something positive, something lasting,” Carter’s mother, Tonique Brown, who presented the check on her son’s behalf, explained per WESH. “Do not let this divide us. If anything, make sure that brings us together as a whole.”
The outlet reports that Carter grew up in Apopka, Florida. Additionally, the 22-year-old played football for Pop Warner at the same complex where last week’s shooting took place.
“I as a mother was very proud that Jalen got me on the phone, and he immediately wanted to help out the children in this community,” Brown said, per Fox 35 Orlando. “He was very, very, very, upset to hear what happened on this field. The same field that he played on, a place where he felt safe, a place he could escape the stresses of the outside world and just be a kid.”
NFL player Jalen Carter makes donation to Apopka Pop Warner after shooting injures 2 teens | Click on the image to read the full story https://t.co/vG9HHo3UwR
— WESH 2 News (@WESH) October 13, 2023
More Information On The Initial Shooting & Status Of The 11-Year-Old Suspect
As The Shade Room previously reported, the shooting took place at the Apopka Northwest Recreation Center on the evening of Monday, October 2. The shooting reportedly followed Pop Warner football practice and was prompted by a dispute between an 11-year-old boy and two 13-year-old teammates.
According to a prior report by Fox 35 Orlando, the 13-year-old teens allegedly bullied the 11-year-old “over a bag of chips.” The altercation then continued into the parking lot, and the 11-year-old allegedly grabbed a firearm from an “unsecured box” in the passenger side of his mother’s car and went after the two teens.
The child then allegedly “fired one shot,” which struck both teenagers, injuring one in the arm and the other in the upper body.
As The Shade Room previously reported, the 11-year-old is being held at a juvenile detention center. Additionally, he faces a “second-degree attempted murder” charge.
At this time, it remains unclear whether the child’s parents will also face criminal charges.
“As a society, we need to reflect on this,” Police Chief McKinley explained at a press conference on Oct. 3. “We see this too often in our society now. Juveniles, young juveniles… that have access to guns, but the more disturbing part is that they believe that gun, that firearm, is a resolution to their problem. And it’s not a resolution to anybody’s problems. It just creates more problems for everybody involved.
The victims’ conditions remain unclear at this time of reporting. However, on October 4, Fox 35 Orlando reported that one teenager was in stable condition. At the time, the outlet shared that the second teen faced more “extensive injuries.”
How The Apopka Community Plans To Move Forward
According to WESH, Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson was present Thursday night when Carter’s check was unveiled to the Pop Warner team and Apopka community. During the event, Mayor Nelson reportedly shared what he believes are the factors the community must prioritize in order to move forward.
The first, Mayor Nelson listed, is to launch more “anti-bullying initiatives.”
“Whether it be Little League, Pop Warner soccer, we want to have some training so that not only the coaches, the parents, the kids understand that’s important,” Nelson explained.
Last night, Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson held a meeting with State Attorney Andrew Bain and Tonique Brown, the mother of NFL defensive tackle Jalen Carter, to discuss the issues of violence and how they’re going to work on preventing future instances. https://t.co/5UXF0r2Wdb
— Spectrum News 13 (@MyNews13) October 13, 2023
Additionally, Orange-Osceola State Attorney Andrew Bain explained that gun safety knowledge is equally important.
“I brought with me something that could have helped the other night, gun safety locks, gun safety is a very important thing,” Bain shared.
The state will reportedly be setting up an “education and gun awareness panel” in the future. Additionally, Carter’s mother reportedly shared that “more funding” will given to the Pop Warner youth football team and Apopka community.
“That was very big for the mayor and police chief to be there with her. I haven’t met them personally — at first, I just wanted to find a way to give back to the kids,” Carter explained to the Philadelphia Inquirer in a report published Friday. “But to get their [mayor and police chief] input and know we have more projects on the way, it’s very important to them as it is important to me.”