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Connecticut college basketball player shot dead at New Jersey nature preserve

Phil Urban had arranged to meet with an acquaintance in New Jersey on Saturday evening and was shot during the encounter, prosecutors said.

A Connecticut college basketball player was fatally shot over the weekend at a New Jersey nature preserve, according to officials. 

Phil Urban, a 6-foot-6 forward at Post University in Connecticut, was shot Saturday in Hopewell Township, New Jersey, about 30 miles away from his native Manalapan Township.

Urban, 20, was found “slumped over” in the driver’s seat of a white Mercedes vehicle around 7 p.m. Saturday, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office said. 

He was taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead from a gunshot wound a short time later. 

According to a preliminary investigation, Urban had arranged to meet an acquaintance at the preserve. He “was shot at some point during the encounter," prosecutors said.

The shooting is under investigation as a homicide.

No arrests have been made, and officials ask for anyone with information to come forward.

Post University CEO and President John L. Hopkins said the community was "heartbroken."

Urban "modeled the attributes of leadership, commitment and hard work on the court and in the classroom" as a member of the men's basketball team and as a business administration major, Hopkins said. "We hope that his family, friends and those affected by his passing will find strength during this extremely difficult time." 

Hopkins said counseling resources will be available to support students and staff members.

Urban was a freshman, according to Post University’s 2022-23 basketball roster. The basketball team welcomed him in April on Twitter, calling him a “skilled wing” who “can play multiple positions. 

“We are excited about what Phil will add to our team both as a player and person. Welcome to the nest, Phil!" the statement said.