Felton, 29, dies after shooting

Updated: August 14, 2009, 6:10 PM ET
Associated Press

MILWAUKEE -- Lavelle Felton was doing what he always wanted to do by playing in a professional European basketball league, his stepfather said Friday, a day after the Milwaukee native died from a gunshot wound.

"Lavelle was a people person," Ken McLean said Friday. "When you see Lavelle, Lavelle made your day better because he always had something nice to say, always had a smile on his face and he was a person who was living his dream."

[+] EnlargeFelton Lavelle
Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP/Getty ImagesLavelle Felton, shown playing in a European League game, averaged 13.7 points and 5.1 rebounds in 2002-03 at Louisiana Tech.

Police said the 29-year-old was shot in the head while sitting in the driver's seat of a vehicle at a Milwaukee gas station around 2 a.m. Wednesday. He died Thursday about 9:30 p.m. at a local hospital. No arrests have been made, police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said Friday.

Schwartz said she was releasing few details because there was no one in custody. Detectives have been interviewing people near the gas station and to Felton's friends and relatives.

"We're trying to find out a motive," Schwartz said. "We're trying to talk to anybody who might have seen something."

Felton played for Paderborn last season in Germany's top league, Bundesliga. He was a guard and played in 34 games, averaging 10.4 points and 2.4 assists per game as he helped the club reach the Bundesliga playoffs.

Felton had played basketball at Madison High School in Milwaukee, then at Louisiana Tech, where he averaged 13.7 points and 5.1 rebounds a game in 2002-03. He then spent two years with the Turkish club Buyuk Kolej before moving on to Greece and France.

McLean and friends have said Felton, nicknamed "Velle" or "Romie," lived to play basketball, playing as much as he could.

But Felton also spent a lot of time with his family, McLean said. He has a 5-year-old stepson, a 4-year-old son, and a 2-year-old daughter with his girlfriend, he said.

"He's going to be sorely missed," he said. "He's such a great person."

His stepfather said a witness told the family that Felton was filling his "old school" car with fancy rims with gas when another driver in an "old school" car drove up "acting a fool around his car."

He said the driver left but came back, shooting into the air. The gas station then turned off its lights, possibly feeling threatened. While Felton was distracted, another man crept up and fired at him, McLean quoted the witness as saying.

McLean called it "senseless" and "idiotic." McLean said he was irate with police because he hasn't heard anything from them and they didn't prevent the shooting.

In an e-mail, Schwartz said McLean's statements were inaccurate and police were working to solve the murder. No funeral plans had been made as of Friday afternoon, McLean said.

Felton's Los Angeles-based agent for the last two years, Mark Mayemura, described Felton as mature person who cared as much about providing for his family as playing basketball.

"Professionally he did achieve a lot," he said. "He still had so much more to give for himself, for his family and for the game and that's the tragic part about it."

Felton had an offer on the table from Cyprus and was supposed to give Mayemura an answer on Wednesday.

There were numerous comments on Felton's Facebook page. Some of his friends changed their profile photos Friday to his picture and said they were in disbelief.

"I am not taking the news well at all but I know you are in a better place now and that God will take care of you," Kiana Believesinkarma-Addison wrote. "I love you like a brother and I miss you. Until we meet again. ... R.I.P. Velle."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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