Sadly, tragedy has hit the Texas A&M football program in one of the most gut-punching, heartbreaking ways imaginable.
Early Friday morning, Houston police were called to the home of Antonio Armstrong to investigate a shooting. At the Bellaire-area home, police found Armstrong’s wife, Dawn, dead and Armstrong critically wounded with a gunshot wound to the head in their bed.
Armstrong was taken to a local hospital and was initially listed in critical condition before succumbing to the injuries later on Friday.
Adding to the tragedy, police have charged the Armstrong’s 16-year-old son with two counts of juvenile murder. The daughter of Antonio and Dawn was in the home at the time of the shooting, but she was not injured. A third child was not believed to be in the home.
Homicide investigators have said there was no history of domestic violence, and police had never been called to the home.
Armstrong, who went by the surname “Shorter” for the first three years of his Aggie football career, played at A&M from 1991-94, earning first-team All-American honors his senior season. He was also a semifinalist for the Butkus Award that year, and was named All-SWC twice.
“Antonio was a special young man,” Armstrong former head coach, R.C. Slocum, said in a statement. “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.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Antonio Armstrong and his family and the entire Aggie family,” a statement from current A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin began. “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.”
After injuries ended his pro career after a few seasons, Armstrong went on to become a fitness instructor, motivational speaker and associate pastor. He and his wife ran First Class Training, a gym in Bellaire.
Below is Armstrong’s A&M bio provided by the school:
Was a cornerstone of the Texas A&M Wrecking Crew defense for four seasons from 1991-94 … Earned first-team Associated Press All-America honors as a linebacker as a senior in 1994 and was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, which is given annually to college football’s top linebacker … earned first-team All-Southwest Conference honors in 1993 and 1994 … Earned Defensive Player of the Game honors in the 1994 Cotton Bowl (vs. Notre Dame) … was drafted in the sixth round of the NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers in 1995 … Armstrong never lost a game on Kyle Field and helped the Aggies extend the nation’s then-longest home winning streak to 26 games … Armstrong led the SWC in QB sacks and tackles for losses as a senior in 1994 … finished his career with 154 total tackles, including 18 QB sacks and 31 total tackles for loss of yardage.