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Two gunshots, one murder and an unanswerable question: Why did he kill his teammate?


Ruth Ackies holds a photo of her son Nick Ackies, a former Freeman football player who was shot and killed by Jaquan Anderson, a former L.C. Bird football player. Photo was taken at Freeman HS Monday, August 19, 2019.

"I’ve seen enough movies, and he has blood in his mouth, and he’s just on my carpet, and he has blood in his mouth, and I love him.”

-Jaquan Anderson, speaking with a 911 dispatcher


Nick Ackies (77) played for Douglas Freeman High School in a game against James River High School in September 2015. Ackies was offered scholarships by some Division I college football programs, but he chose Norfolk State so he could also play baseball in the spring.

Football: All-Metro defense

Jaquan Anderson was named All-Metro after his senior season at L.C. Bird, when his team won the state championship. 

Officers later found the 9 mm handgun stashed in his suitcase – the 911 operator told him to put it away – along with 16.5 grams of low-quality marijuana and $137 stuffed in his sock and pockets.


Nick Ackies received several scholarship offers but insisted on playing both football and baseball in college. 

“I got scared, and I just shot him. I thought he was going to attack me again.”

"This was murder, and you know it. Somewhere deep down, he knows it, too."

-Trish O'Boyle, Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney, during her closing statement


Nick Ackies could throw 90 miles per hour as a sophomore in high school, in addition to being one of the area's top defensive linemen. 

"I don’t want bad things to happen to him. He’s somebody else’s child.”

-Ruth Ackies

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Sports reporter

Eric Kolenich writes sports stories for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, focusing on local athletes and teams. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 2008 with a BA in English and joined the paper in 2009. (804) 649-6109

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