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‘The sky was the limit for him’: Mallard Creek community mourns death of former football standout, player at Lenoir-Rhyne

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 7:13 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2021 at 1:16 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - People near and far are mourning the life of the Lenoir-Rhyne University football player who was shot and killed in Hickory.

People say Omari Alexander was someone with a great spirit, and was a player any coach would want on their team.

The death of 19-year-old Alexander, a redshirt freshman on Lenoir-Rhyne’s football, is shocking for his family and his former high school community.

“It’s just so sad, a kid so young who lost his life,” said Mike Palmieri, the former head football coach at Mallard Creek High School.

Related: Lenoir-Rhyne football player from Charlotte found shot, killed outside Hickory apartment complex

Palmieri was the head coach at Mallard Creek High School when Alexander was the star tight end there. The coach added that he was an all-around good kid and athlete.

“A really good football player, earned a scholarship to Lenoir-Rhyne, a leader on the field, vocal, really good in the weight room, excellent academics, was never a problem at Mallard Creek as far as the classroom or in the building,” said Palmieri.

Related: ‘He was always smiling’: Memorial service set for Lenoir-Rhyne football player found shot, killed outside apartment complex

Rebecca White, Career Development Coordinator at Mallard Creek High School added, “he brought a lot of energy, he had a lot of big energy, he was very jovial in the locker room and with his teammates, and he was always very positive among our students and our teachers, no one could say anything negative about him.”

Both Palmieri and White said he had a bright future ahead, on and off the football field.

“The sky was the limit for him, I know we used to talk about him being in the medical field and wanting to do that, you know he was so smart, his future was bright, you know it’s very very unfortunate,” said Palmieri.

The Mallard Creek community told WBTV they are there for the family in support and prayer as they go through this hard time.

“I know I can speak on behave of the Mallard Creek staff and his family here at Mallard Creek, we always say once a mav, always a mav, that we’re just completely shocked and devastated, and just praying for brighter days for his family,” said White.

Omari Alexander’s older brother provided a statement to WBTV.

“Although our dear brother’s untimely death saddens us, we do not grieve as does the world. We know and believe that according to 2 Corinthians 5:6-11, Omari is known by God, and therefore his bodily absence means that he’s present with Jesus Christ, who is Lord (1 Thess 4:13-18). The crux of the message, as stated by Isaiah 1:16, “Wash and make yourself clean. Stop doing evil! Learn to do good (paraphrased)! It continues, “Seek justice,” and that’s what we will do. We prepare our hearts and minds for what is to come. The codification of forgiveness leaves space to remember Omari’s love, compassion, and strength. We put our justice in faith, we seek Christ.”

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