Last year, Bruce Eugene was faced with a tragedy that changed his life forever. Hurricane Katrina hit, and the GSU quarterback had to make sure his family was taken care of. Using that tragedy as motivation, Eugene went on to break records and lead his team to win the SWAC Championship.
This year, there is a different quarterback in town, and he, too, is going through a tragedy.
On Aug. 25, Brandon Landers was in Monroe for a prep preseason game between longtime rivals Carroll and Wossman High schools. An argument broke out that involved Landers; Landers’ brother Frank Landers, cousin Anthony Landers and Darrius Johnson.
After the argument, Brandon Landers decided to try to mediate the situation. The Landerses drove to Johnson’s house in a nonconfrontational manner. However, Johnson pulled a gun and shot Frank Landers in the arm, and the bullet traveled to his chest. Anthony Landers was shot in the chest.
Frank Landers died and Anthony Landers was critically wounded. The GSU quarterback was not hurt. Johnson has turned himself in and is facing charges of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder.
While Landers hasn’t been talking to press about the situation, he has been back on the practice field. According to GSU Sports Information Director Ryan McGinty, Landers will be starting in Saturday’s game, stepping onto the field a little over a week after the incident.
Students were shocked to learn of the tragedy.
"It’s a tragic thing that happened, and it’s sad that (Brandon) had to be there with him," said senior Karletta White. "We took a moment of silence in our civilization class for his brother."
The Landerses and Johnson were acquaintances, which makes the situation even more tragic.
"I think it’s a whole bunch of [expletive]," said Ashley Collins, a former Gramblinite who attended Carroll High with Brandon Landers. "There are too many important things going on nowadays, and whatever they were arguing with wasn’t enough to kill someone."
A motive still hasn’t been determined by the Monroe Police Department, according to The News-Star.
"They all knew one another," Maj. Don Bartley, chief of investigations, told The News-Star. "Why this guy went off we don’t know."
As the grieving continues, many students are supportive.
"It’s very unfortunate that a tragic accident happened to a young man," said senior Marjorie Hyde. "We are praying for him and his family."}