A 16-year-old has been arrested after a standout New Mexico high school basketball player who planned to play for the state’s largest university was shot and killed early Saturday, authorities said.
The teen, a Santa Fe resident, was charged in the death of 18-year-old FeDonta “J.B.” White, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office said. White and the 16-year-old had gotten into a fight before the boy shot him, authorities said. The suspect fled and was arrested with the help of Santa Fe police.
Shots were heard around 3:30 a.m. at a house that witnesses say was hosting a party, authorities said. Friends were driving White to a hospital when they met first responders, who took him the rest of the way, authorities said. White died at the hospital.
The Associated Press generally does not identify juveniles who are accused of crimes. The teen is being held at a juvenile detention center, authorities said.
White, a 6-foot-8 forward for the Santa Fe High School Demons averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds in the 2019-20 season, and the team reached the Class 5A quarterfinals.
He announced in May that he would finish his coursework early, forgoing his senior year in high school to join the University of New Mexico team on an athletic scholarship in the upcoming season.
“We were looking forward to him joining the Lobo Family,” the team tweeted Saturday. “He was an amazing young man with a bright future, our thoughts and hearts go out to his family & friends.”
White was a real Hoop Dreams figure, at the front of a cross-town rivalry against Capital High School that drew overflow crowds and people glued to the radio broadcast.
He was sorely missed in the latter half of the 2018-19 season when Santa Fe reached the 5A championship for the first time in 41 years. White had dislocated his patella, ending his year, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
“The whole thing is just surreal,” the school’s principal, Carl Marano, told the newspaper. “He was an incredible young man who was getting ready to fulfill his dream and be a Lobo.”
Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent Veronica Garcia said White’s talent was a joy to sports fans across New Mexico
“It is unspeakable to lose someone so young and with such promise for the future,” she said in a statement.
The investigation into the killing is ongoing, police said.