DALLAS — USF freshman quarterback Quinton Flowers, no stranger to family tragedy, has encountered it again, even as he prepares for his inaugural college start.
Flowers' 24-year-old half brother, Bradley Holt, was killed early Thursday evening outside an apartment complex in Miami's Allapattah neighborhood while engaged in what police described as a "good Samaritan" act.
Flowers, named the starter for tonight's game against SMU by coach Willie Taggart on Tuesday, chose to travel with his team to Dallas, where USF's charter plane landed late Friday afternoon.
In a Facebook post late Thursday night, Flowers wrote: "Its crazy how when things go good for me but a blood member have to get took away. R.I.P. BIG BRA BRAD Playing for you this week"
"The thoughts and prayers of everyone in our football program and the USF family are with Quinton and his family as they cope with this senseless tragedy," Taggart said in a statement.
"Quinton is a special young man who has had to endure far more at his young age than anyone should. We will do everything we can to help see him through this very difficult loss."
Flowers' thoroughfare to high school football stardom and a Division I-A scholarship has been littered with anguish. He was 7 when his father was shot and killed outside the family home in the hardscrabble Liberty City section of Miami, and he was a junior in high school when he lost his mother to cancer.
On Thursday, his older, half sibling was trying to protect a group of children from a yellow Ford Mustang suspiciously circling the apartment complex and traveling erratically, police said.
Police said Holt shouted at those inside the vehicle in order to protect the children, the Miami Herald reported. The car left but returned soon thereafter and someone inside fired a fatal shot that struck Holt in the head. He was pronounced dead at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Police still were seeking the vehicle and driver Friday night, the Herald reported.
"It's a sad story because obviously what this good Samaritan was doing was trying to protect the safety of the children that were playing outside their home," Kenia Reyes of the Miami Police Department told Miami's NBC 6 News.
NBC 6 News reporter Julia Bagg said via Twitter that Flowers will wear Holt's name in face paint during tonight's game.
Flowers, who amassed more than 8,000 total yards at Miami Jackson High, was tabbed to start against the Mustangs after Taggart reopened the Bulls' quarterback competition during the team's recent bye week.
Deemed a four-star prospect by Scout.com, he has played sparingly in three games this season, but Taggart indicated that Flowers showed solid command of USF's offense last week and deserves a shot to reveal what he can do with extensive snaps.
"I think he's a kid that's been through so much here in his young age that I don't think too much, especially in football … is going to rattle this kid for the things that he's been through," Taggart said Tuesday.
"It's been impressive for him to get this far and be as successful as he's been on the football field and in the classroom."
Contact Joey Knight at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.