Tayshana Murphy killed in New York

Updated: September 12, 2011, 1:06 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

A highly touted girl's prep basketball player was shot to death in a New York apartment building early Sunday morning.

Tayshana Murphy, 18, was shot in the head by a gunman in a hallway of her home, a housing project in Harlem's Morningside Heights neighborhood.

According to media reports, Murphy, a senior at Murry Bergtraum High School who previously attended Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, may have been the victim of mistaken identity.

"It's very devastating, it's something you never want to deal with," said Murphy's Murry Bergtraum coach, Ed Grezinsky. "You deal with all kinds of things and adversity as a coach, injuries and all kinds of family issues, but something like this is beyond comprehension.

"Somebody that is young like that and has everything to live for and has everything in front of her, she was very much looking forward to this season. She had (torn) her ACL last year and I spoke to her last week and I said 'Are you ready for this season?' and she said 'I can't wait.' "

There were no arrests and the shooting remained under investigation, according to media reports.

Witnesses told the New York Daily News that Murphy, who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, was mistaken for a boy who had gotten in a fight with men from a nearby housing project.

"She was pleading for her life," her friend Teka Taylor, 22, who was with her at the time, told the Daily News. "She was saying 'No, please, I don't have nothing to do with it.' "

Former Murry teammate Shaniqua Reese said her "heart dropped" when she heard the news.

"Tears came to my eyes. I couldn't believe it. I just spoke to Chicken at the end of August and she was telling me she might (go) to the University of Miami and that she wishes the best for me and she wants the best for me at Temple and she was wishing me all the best," Reese said. "I told her to make sure she did what she had to do in class this year to make sure she's eligible for college because school comes first."

Murphy, who was rated the class of 2012's No. 16 point guard by ESPN.com's HoopGurlz recruiting site, was cited as one of the top girl's basketball prospects in the city by the Daily News. She had drawn interest from several colleges, her family said.

"She said 'Mom I'm going to get you out of the projects,' " her mother, Tephanie Holston, said, according to the Daily News. "She loved basketball, she lived and breathed basketball."

ESPNNewYork.com's Matt Ehalt contributed to this report.

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