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Division III Football Player Accused of First-Degree Murder

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A college football player faces a first-degree murder charge in the shooting death of a 16-year-old girl.

Image: William Riley Gaul
William Riley Gaul was arrested in connection with the death of Emma Walker on Tuesday. Knox County Sheriff's Office / via AP

Knox County Sheriff's Office officials announced Wednesday that William Riley Gaul, a freshman wide receiver at Division III Maryville (Tennessee) College, was arrested in connection with the killing of Emma Walker. Officials said Gaul was being held at the Knox County Jail on $750,000 bond.

Sheriff's officials said Walker was found dead of a gunshot wound inside her house Monday morning. Officials said evidence at the scene indicted Gaul fired shots into her bedroom from outside the house while she slept.

Walker was a student at Central High School in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Maryville's football roster indicates Gaul graduated from Central High.

In a statement, Maryville athletic department spokesman Chris Cannon said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim's family and friends and other individuals affected by this tragedy."

Maryville coach Shaun Hayes said through a spokesman that Gaul has been dismissed from the football program.

Maryville already has completed its season.