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Southern Miss football player dies in Tuesday night shooting

A Southern Miss football player has passed away following a fatal shooting in Hattiesburg.

Marcus ‘MJ’ Daniels Jr., a defensive back for the Golden Eagles, was identified as deceased following the gunfire that rang out at the Ivy Row apartment complex Tuesday night.

A large multi-agency law enforcement presence was reported on Tuesday evening at the complex near Highway 49, but reports were not confirmed until Wednesday morning by Lisa Klem of the Forrest County coroner’s office.

Daniels, 21, was a standout player for Southern Miss in 2023 after transferring from Ole Miss, where he played two years. The Lucedale native was also a highly decorated recruit out of George County High School in 2020.

The Hattiesburg Police Department say that Daniels was found unresponsive in his vehicle after law enforcement responded to reports of a weapon fired at the complex. The Hattiesburg Police Crime Scene Unit confirmed that Daniels had been shot and was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the Daniels family,” Hattiesburg Chief of Police Hardy Sims said. “We are doing all that we can to locate the perpetrators to bring justice to the victim and his family. We are asking the community for their help and to come forward with any information pertaining to this tragic incident and the untimely death of Marcus Daniels.”

Southern Miss also released the following statement:

The University of Southern Mississippi and the Department of Athletics mourn the loss of M.J. Daniels whose life was lost Tuesday evening during an incident that occurred off campus. We send our sincere condolences to his family, friends, and teammates during this difficult time. 

Daniels, from Lucedale, Mississippi, was a member of the Golden Eagle football team. He played his first season with the Golden Eagles last fall, after transferring from the University of Mississippi. In his lone season with the Golden Eagles, he registered 29 tackles in 12 games played and tied for the team lead in interceptions with three. 

Out of respect for the family and all impacted in this matter, the University and Athletic Department will have no further comment at this time.”

Kelvin Bolden, former Southern Miss football wide receiver and current Coordinator of Recruiting Strategy at Ole Miss, was one of many reactions beginning to flood social media following the news of Daniels’ passing:

More details are expected to be released as the investigation continues.

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