North Carolina

Former all-star high school football player, 18, killed in car crash, NC officials say

This screenshot shows Johnathan Gilmore, a Winston-Salem State University football player killed in a car crash.
This screenshot shows Johnathan Gilmore, a Winston-Salem State University football player killed in a car crash. Twitter

A North Carolina community is mourning after a freshman college football player was killed.

Winston-Salem State University confirmed that student-athlete Johnathan T. Gilmore was killed in a car crash Saturday. Gilmore was a tight end on the Rams football team.

“Johnathan was an inspiration on and off the field to those around him and he will be remembered with love and affection by his friends, coaches and teammates,” Winston-Salem State football coach Kienus Boulware said in a statement.

Gilmore was back in his hometown of Fayetteville, for the weekend when he was one of two people killed in a wreck that occurred at about 4 p.m., WTVD reported. The TV station said the second person has yet to be identified because of “the charred wreckage.”

The 18-year-old was an all-conference tight end at South View High School, and was on the sidelines Friday to watch his former team win its first-round playoff game, according to the Fayetteville Observer. His brother, Greg Gilmore, played college football at Louisiana State University.

“I’m just heartbroken, devastated. He was the love of my life,” said Gilmore’s mother Tina Ward, adding the cause of the crash is under investigation but might have involved a medical emergency, per WTVD. “The investigation is still ongoing, but we want to think he may have had a seizure.”

Although he did not play a lot during his freshman season, Gilmore was named one of Winston-Salem State University’s captains for their final game of the season, the News & Record reported.

“It’s very painful,” South View coach Rodney Brewington said to the Fayetteville Observer. “About the only comfort I can take from this is the last words I said to him was ‘Johnathan, I love you.’ That meant a lot.”

According to the university, Gilmore was planning to major in business.

“Johnathan was a promising member of the Ram Family with a bright future,” Vice Chancellor Jaime Hunt said in a statement, according to WRAL. “As a campus community, we grieve for him and for his family and friends.”

Another Winston-Salem State University was killed earlier this year.

Najee Ali Baker, died after being shot Jan. 20 at Wake Forest University following a fight, the Charlotte Observer reported.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.