College Athlete Dies Weeks After He Was Shot, Paralyzed

"My son had everything going for him," Larry Aaron III's father said after the shooting

A college football player has died weeks after a stray bullet struck him in the back at a New Year's Eve party in Maryland, paralyzing him, police say.

Larry Aaron III died from his injuries at Frederick Memorial Hospital on Thursday, according to Anne Arundel County police. He was 19.

Aaron was a freshman defensive tackle for Marshall University, in Huntington, West Virginia.

"Marshall University lost a very special young man today and it has shocked and saddened us all," Marshall University Head Football Coach John Doc Holliday said on Twitter. "Our thoughts and prayers are with all of Larry Aaron's family and friends, many whom were his fellow Thundering Herd teammates. His loss will be felt in every corner of our program and his spirit will never be forgotten."

Police said homicide detectives are now investigating the case.

Soon after the shooting, police announced a reward of as much as $10,000 for tips on who opened fire at the party in Severn, Maryland. Another teen was shot in the arm during the shooting.

Anne Arundel County police pleaded with partygoers to come forward.

"The police department is asking that anyone with recordings, photographs or information, no matter how insignificant you think they may be, to please contact Detective Pattana of the Anne Arundel County Police Department," a notice said.

Police believe that more than 100 people were at the party on the 7800 block of Bastille Road where someone opened fire. Police responded about 1 a.m and rushed Aaron to a hospital. 

Aaron was shielding his girlfriend when he was shot, his father, Larry Aaron Jr., told WBAL-TV

"I know they say you're not supposed to ask why, but you know, my son had everything going for him," his father, Larry Aaron Jr., told the station. The 19-year-old was paralyzed from the waist down.

Doctors could not operate on Aaron because the bullet was lodged in his spinal cord, his mother, Melissa Aaron, told WBAL-TV after the shooting. He was struggling to cope with his life-changing injury, she said.

"He has his moments. He's been very calm, but he has had a few breakdowns, and that's to be expected," she said.

John "Doc" Holliday, the head football coach of Marshall University, sent his condolences to Aaron and his family.

"It is however with a heavy heart that we bring in this new year as I send my thoughts and prayers to Larry Aaron and his entire family during this difficult time. Your @HerdFB family is here for you. #HerdStrong," he wrote, referring to the Marshall Thundering Herd.

Officials at Marshall University, which is located in Huntington, West Virginia, did not respond to inquiries.  

Police said earlier this week that a 17-year-old boy also was hurt. In an update Thursday, they called his injury "serious." Additional information was not available immediately.

Anyone with information for police is asked to call 410-222-8763. To remain anonymous, call 410-222-8610, or the 24-hour tip line at 410-222-4700.

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