Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys running back and St. Louis area native Ezekiel Elliott will pay for the funeral expenses of Jaylon McKenzie, a promising East St. Louis eighth-grade football player who was killed by a stray bullet as he left a party last Saturday night.


ESPN.com reported that Elliott, who was born in Alton, IL and is a graduate of John Burroughs School in Ladue, reached out to the family shortly after the tragedy.

“Zeke is really a special guy,” coach Jason Garrett told ESPN Wednesday at the team's sponsors' golf tournament at Cowboys Golf Club. “He's a great football player obviously, but he's a really good person and that doesn't surprise me one bit. He's just very generous. He's got a great spirit about him. We see that every day as players and coaches.”

According to Illinois State Police, McKenzie was struck by a stray bullet while leaving a party in Venice, Illinois and died at a local hospital. A 15-year-old girl was also hit and remains in critical condition.

McKenzie, who was already receiving college scholarship offers as an eighth-grader, had been selected to compete in the All-American All-Star Game in Canton, Ohio, during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend.

Information from Espn.com contributed to this report.

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