A 16-year-old boy is accused of killing his mother and his former All-American football star father in Texas. Former Texas A&M star and motivational speaker Antonio Armstrong, 42, was found dead in his home outside of Houston along with his wife, Dawn, 42, on the morning of July 29. Both had been shot. Shortly after the bodies were found, police in the area announced that the couple’s 16-year-old son had been arrested by police in the area. The couple had three children, Josh Armstrong, 20, AJ Armstrong, 16, and daughter, Kayra Armstrong.
Houston Police Department detective Jimmy Dodson told the media, “It was kinda the all-American family. That’s why we’re trying to get down to figure out what’s going on in this household.” A Harris County District Attorney’s Office said that a “juvenile has been charged in connection with a shooting.” The juvenile was later charged with capital murder.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. His Mother Was Pronounced Dead at the Scene; His Father Died Later at a Local Hospital
KHOU reports that Houston police were called to the Armstrong’s home at around 2:15 a.m. on July 29. There, police found Dawn Armstrong dead of bullet wounds, her husband, Antonio, was critically injured. He later died at a nearby hospital. He had been shot in the head.
There was no history of domestic violence between the pair, reports NBC Houston. Dawn Armstrong was found in the couple’s bedroom.
Dawn Armstrong’s cousin, Vaun Lee Armstrong, told KHOU, “They’re the family that everyone wanted to be like. Her and Antonio together, they are what they call a power couple, a power team.” The station also reports that a makeshift memorial had been created at the 1st Class Training gym that the couple owned in Bellaire. Vaun Lee added, “She never had an unkind word to say to anybody. She saw the positive in every situation…There was nothing that even could have possibly justified this situation. There nothing this doesn’t even make sense it makes no sense.”
NBC Houston reports that the family lived in a two-story home on the 5300 block of Palmetto Street. A family friend, Scott Binkley, told the station:
He was one of A&M’s top 25 athletes. Served the Lord. Worked in the community. Did nothing but help people constantly. We are just shocked at what happened. Antonio grew up in the inner city. We minister to inner city kids.
And he was one of the kids that stayed focused. He knew Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior. He moved on with his life and just accomplished things that you couldn’t believe.
2. He Was Born in Canada While His Father Was Playing for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers
AJ Armstrong was born in Winnipeg while his father was playing in the Canadian Football League. His father played ball in the U.S. first at Texas A&M and later for four games with the Miami Dolphins in the NFL. Upon hearing of his death, former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum said:
Antonio was a special young man. He was an All-American and an outstanding player, but he was an even better person. He was such a positive influence on his teammates. He always had a great big smile and was a joy to coach.
While the team’s coach Kevin Sumlin said:
Our thoughts and prayers are with Antonio Armstrong and his family, his old teammates and the entire Aggie family. Our strength coach Larry Jackson was a teammate of Antonio’s and thought the world of him. This is a terrible tragedy and our hearts are broken.
A statement from Texas A&M read:
Former Texas A&M football lettermen and 1994 first-team Associated Press All-American Antonio Armstrong and wife, Dawn, passed away Friday in Houston. Armstrong, a linebacker from Houston Kashmere High School, lettered for the Aggies from 1991-94 and was a two-time All-Southwest Conference selection.
He earned All-America honors and was named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award as senior after leading the SWC in quarterback sacks and tackles for loss.
According to a post her Facebook page, Dawn and Antonio served in a local Christian ministry together. The Houston Chronicle reports that the ministry, Spirit and Life Kingdom Center, is led by his mother, Pastor Kay Shorter. The Armstrong’s son, Josh, also worked at the ministry, reports the Chronicle.
He was a graduate of Kashmere High School in Houston while Dawn was originally from Atchison, Kansas, but moved to the Houston-area when she was younger, reports the Houston Chronicle.
On his Facebook page, Antonio uploaded one of his many self-help videos less than three hours before police were called to his home on July 29. He says in the clip, “Remember this: You can never allow your talent to take you some place that your character cannot keep you. … We spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror instead of dealing with that large window that’s in front of us.”
Antonio also maintained a YouTube channel titled “Strong Talk.” The introductory video says in part, “Through the healing process, you are strengthened. Life is about being happy and I hope that through these talks, you can take your own personal pains – your own personal disappointments – and find strength in it so you can be the best you that you can be.”
A week before her death, Dawn wrote on her Facebook page, “…I love this man! We hit the ground running with $936 in our bank account in TOTAL! He promised me every day that it would be greater later! And WOW did he mean just what he said. Love you babe.”
A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help support the couple’s remaining children.
3. AJ Is a Basketball & Football Star at His High School
According to his Hudl page, AJ Armstrong is a football and basketball star and Kinkaid High School in Piney Point Village, Texas. That profile gives his weight at 170 pounds and height at 6 feet.
His Twitter and Facebook pages are also decorated with photos of him playing both sports. On his Facebook, AJ says that he is due to graduate in 2018. AJ’s last tweet made reference to the start of training camp for the school’s football team. He is due to transfer to Lamar High School in Houston.
4. He Posts Regularly About His Girlfriend on Twitter
One of AJ’s regular topics to tweet about was his girlfriend. On July he sent out a message saying, “Y’all wtf look at my girl.” On May 29, he wrote, “Dang, my girl cute asf.” A photo of AJ and his girlfriend kissing is featured as Facebook profile photo.
5. His Brother Josh Is an Aspiring Rapper
AJ’s older brother, Josh, is a graduate of Kinkaid High School where he was also a football star. According to his Facebook page, he graduated in May 2014. He signed to play football for Millsaps College after high school.
On his SoundCloud page, Josh goes by the moniker King Steez and is an aspiring rapper. His last music was uploaded to the page in March 2016.