Bryce Dejean-Jones, a guard for the New Orleans Pelicans, was fatally shot after he kicked down the door of a Dallas apartment early Saturday morning, police said.
According to police, officers were called to the Camden Belmont apartment complex on the 2500 block of Bennett Avenue at 3:20 a.m. regarding a shooting.
The resident of the apartment, whose identity was not released, was sleeping when he heard a man, identified as 23-year-old Bryce Dejean-Jones, breaking down the front door, police said.
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The resident, armed with a handgun, called out and heard no response. As Dejean-Jones kicked open the bedroom door, the resident fired his gun, police said.
Dejean-Jones left the apartment and collapsed. He was later brought to a hospital and pronounced dead from a gunshot wound, according to the police statement.
Agent Scott W. Nichols said Dejean-Jones was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"Bryce was visiting his girlfriend in Dallas for his daughter’s 1st birthday. This was the first time Bryce visited her new apartment," Nichols said in a statement. "Later that night, Bryce came back to the apartment. Incidentally he went to the wrong apartment on the third floor just below his girlfriends fourth-floor apartment. He was attempting to enter the apartment which led to him ultimately being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Bryce was then shot and killed."
The New Orleans Pelicans, in a press release, said the team is "devastated" over the loss of Dejean-Jones.
“It is with deep sadness that the Pelicans organization acknowledges the sudden passing of Bryce Dejean-Jones. We are devastated at the loss of this young man’s life who had such a promising future ahead of him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bryce’s family during this difficult time.” [[381218631, C]]
Dejean-Jones signed a three-year contract with the Pelicans in February after joining the team in January on consecutive 10-day contracts.
In Dejean-Jones' only NBA season, which ended in February because of a broken right wrist, the 6-foot-6 guard started 11 of 14 games and averaged 5.6 points and 3.4 rebounds.
Nichols said Dejean-Jones had nearly completed his rehab and was set to begin shooting with his right hand again next week.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called it a "tragic loss."
"Bryce inspired countless people with his hard work and perseverance on his journey to the NBA, and he had a bright future in our league," Silver said in a statement issued Saturday.
National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts, who had posted a link to the story of Dejean-Jones' death on Twitter and wrote that it was "The news I pray every day I never have to hear," said "Bryce's dedication and hard work on his journey to the NBA will forever serve as an inspiration to us all."
Dejean-Jones was a part of the 2014-15 Iowa State team that went 25-9, captured a Big 12 title and made a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. He was fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 10.5 points in 33 games. He shot a career-best 47.6 percent in his lone season as a Cyclone.
"This is a very, very sad and tragic day for everyone that's a part of the Cyclone basketball family," Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said.
Former Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg, now the coach of the NBA's Chicago Bulls, added in a statement that Dejean-Jones was a "passionate and talented player that lived out his dream of playing in the NBA through hard work and perseverance."
He also played college ball at the University of Southern California and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Dejean-Jones was suspended late in the 2013-14 season from UNLV for conduct detrimental to the team, and announced that he was leaving USC midway through the 2010-11 season.
Several NBA players reacted to news of Dejean-Jones' death on Twitter Saturday.
"Crazy how life is man," wrote Brooklyn Nets guard Shane Larkin. "Prayers out to Bryce Dejean Jones and his family."
Quincy Pondexter, one of Dejean-Jones' teammates with the Pelicans, said "This Can't be real life... Rest easy lil bro."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.