NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A young teen killed on his front porch in Antioch is being remembered as a standout football player with endless potential.
Edgar “EJ” Utley, 15, was a freshman at Hillsboro High School where he played varsity football. His coach said he has known EJ his whole life.
“I said he was going to play for me when he was in his mother’s womb and he actually did,” coach Maurice Fitzgerald said, smiling with tears in his eyes.
He said EJ had a one of a kind talent.
“I saw unlimited potential, as a young man, as a student. I think he just had so much to offer, really a unique talent,” he explained.
The young teen had a smile and spirit that resonated with his team, he said.
Buck Fitzgerald, President of the National Playmakers Academy said the senseless act has left him in disbelief.
“He was really a joy to work with. It’s really hard to believe; it really speaks to a larger problem,” he told News 2.
It’s a problem that’s left family, teammates, friends and coaches grieving together, leaning on prayer.
“Everything was aligned for him to be successful, but for whatever reason that we will never understand, it was cut short,” the coach shrugged.
Detectives said a female, believed to be Farris, had visited Utley and that she was in the house for about 10 minutes before walking out on the front porch with him. A male gunman was there hiding, approached Utley and shot him, according to investigators. Utley died shortly after arriving at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Police believe robbery was the motive.
“It’s just, it’s just sad because three families are devastated; they are torn up. They will never be the same,” the coach said shaking his head.
EJ is survived by his mother Dr. Tracy Walls who is a Metro Schools teacher, his father and younger brother.
The school district is providing grief counseling and support to those school communities impacted by his loss.
Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 615-74-CRIME.