Alabama A&M football player killed in Bessemer shooting

BESSEMER, AL (WAFF) - A standout football player at Alabama A&M University was killed early Friday morning after a shooting inside a Bessemer nightclub.

It happened around 3:00 a.m. at the Gettie Boyz Club, a biker bar on 22nd street.

Bessemer Police arrived on scene to find 23-year-old Maurice Thomas dead inside the club.

Through their investigation, police found two more victims who were transported to different hospitals in their own vehicles.

Investigators say the shooting started as a confrontation inside the club, with more shots fired outside the club.

It wasn't immediately known if Thomas was involved in the altercation.

Number 36 played his last season for A&M this past fall, his fifth year of eligibility. Thomas planned to return to the classroom in the fall to finish his degree.

His coach described him as a standout athlete on the field and a quality young man off the field.

"This is not about him being just a football player, the only words I can come up with is he's a quality young man," said Alabama A&M head football coach Anthony Jones.

The 23-year-old  was set to graduate in December.

"I've known Maurice for five years. I've seen this kid grow and develop into a very good man. I've seen him at some of his worst times, I've seen him at some of his best times," said Jones.

A young man, who brought out the best in his teammates, and helped his fellow bulldogs win the 2006 SWAC championship.

Right now, though, for his coach, team, and family, wins can't compare to a loss this large.

"September 4th will come, we'll find a way to get ready, but Maurice won't be forgotten, because he was that kind of a kid," Jones said.

Coach Jones didn't want to comment on the incident at this time, but he did say this is why he always tells his young men to live their lives to the fullest.  He says to try to avoid confrontation as best you can, because everyone is not going to play fair.

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