Molly Lillard, a former University of Michigan volleyball star and daughter of former New York Jets wide receiver Al Toon, was shot to death this week in what officials are describing as an apparent murder-suicide.
Lillard, 28, was found on Sunday evening in front of a house in Scottsdale, Arizona, with gunshot wounds and was taken to a hospital where she died from her injuries, NBC News affiliate WMTV reported.
Her husband, Royce Dale Lillard III, 36, who was suspected of the shooting, barricaded himself inside the home and was later found dead of apparent suicide.
The pair were married for two years and their 8-month-old child was inside of the home during the incident, but was not injured.
Lillard was the daughter of Al Toon, an accomplished athlete at the University of Wisconsin who went on to a decorated career in the NFL with the Jets from 1985 to 1992.
She was a standout volleyball player at Middleton High School in Wisconsin, then became a three-year starter for the University of Michigan Wolverines. In college, she was a four-year letter-winner and received honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association in 2013.
Laura Wilkinson, a high school volleyball teammate, told WMTV that Lillard was “determined” and an “inspiration.”
Wilkinson said Lillard was “always paving her own path. Always doing things and walking to the beat of her own drum. Her passion for everything on and off the court was unbelievable. She had an infectious energy. It was an honor to play with her and know her.”
Franco Marcos, Lillard’s high school coach, added, “She didn’t only demand the best from her teammates but as a coach you have to be on your A-game too.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.