Football

St. Louis Rams player Stedman Bailey shot in Miami Gardens drive-by

St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey watches from the bench in a 2013 game.
St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey watches from the bench in a 2013 game. AP

St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey, who was shot in Miami Tuesday night, remained in critical condition in the intensive care unit of Aventura Hospital Thursday, according to staff.

“We just got a couple little updates, but we don’t know much,” Rams defensive end Chris Long said in a video posted on the Rams’ website. “We just know he’s moving in the right direction.”

Police said Bailey is recovering from a four- to six-hourlong surgery after sustaining two bullet wounds to the head.

“He’ll be in ICU for a number of days,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. “It’s really unlikely — highly unlikely — that he returns to play this year.”

Bailey was the victim in a scene that is all too familiar in South Florida. A car pulls up to a group of people and someone starts shooting. Blood spatters a sidewalk. Friends gather at the ER.

This time the wounded included Bailey, who grew up in South Florida and played football at Miramar High, as well as his relative, Antwan Reeves, 38. Despite their wounds, they drove themselves to the hospital, police said.

“Whether you’re a coach or you’re a father or you’re a family member, anytime something like that happens it’s very, very difficult,” Fisher told the Associated Press after Wednesday’s practice.

Miami Gardens police aren’t saying much, other than that they are looking for a drive-by shooter in a light-colored, four-door sedan who unleashed a barrage of bullets that hit the two men when they were parked outside a house around 8:45 p.m. Tuesday. Thursday a police spokesman said there were no new developments in the case.

There were three others in the victims’ car, including two children, Miami Gardens police spokesperson Doretha Hall said in a statement, “when the vehicle arrived and opened fire.” Reeves, who was behind the wheel, reportedly shielded the children in the back seat and was seriously injured.

“Once I pulled up and saw all these shell casings, I thought that can’t be too good,” said a neighbor of the house in the 19800 block of Northwest 38th Place. “The car was all shot up.”

Another neighbor, 65-year-old Virgie Riley, said she heard her neighbor’s dog barking a lot Tuesday night. She said she heard loud booms, but thought it was the wind.

“It’s scary,” said Riley, who has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years. “Scary that it happened here.”

Bailey is a former standout at Miramar High and a 2013 third-round draft pick from West Virginia University. He was back home in South Florida and not with his Rams teammates because he is in the middle of a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

News of the shooting didn’t take long to get to Miramar High.

Ivan McCartney, who played with Bailey at Miramar and at West Virginia University, said he got a phone call late Tuesday night and was devastated to hear the news.

“This is completely out of left field,” he said. “Sted is a great person. Unfortunately, it seems like he was just at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Miramar coach Pierre Senatus said Bailey had come by the school last week and spoke with the team for nearly an hour. Senatus said the entire Miramar family is praying for Bailey.

“He’s come to visit us three times in the last year since I’ve taken over as coach. He speaks to the team and it’s always a good life conversation,” Senatus said. “He was autographing book bags and talking to the kids about being suspended and how much it hurt him to be away from the team. It was a great genuine message about making mistakes and trying to get back on track.”

Bailey has started three games each of the past two seasons and had 30 receptions for 435 yards and a touchdown last season. Through his first eight games this season, he had 12 catches for 182 yards and a touchdown. He was halfway through his suspension when he was shot Tuesday.

Miami Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon said he went to middle school with Bailey, and center Mike Pouncey said he and Bailey worked out together in the offseason.

“I feel really bad for him,” Pouncey said. “It’s tough. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family. Obviously, you never want anything like that to happen to a guy like that. Hopefully, he’ll be OK.”

Dolphins linebacker Chris McCain added: “Miami is a dangerous place. A lot of stuff out there, nightlife. It’s not something you really want to be around. … Then again, I don’t really know what he was doing.”

Miami Herald staff writers Carli Teproff, Adam Beasley, Alex Harris, Debora Lima and Miami Herald news partner CBS4 contributed to this report.

 
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