Bills rally around Spiller after family tragedy in Florida - The Buffalo News
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Bills rally around Spiller after family tragedy in Florida

LANDOVER, Md. — The Buffalo Bills were offering running back C.J. Spiller as much moral support as they could muster this weekend in the wake of his step-grandfather’s shooting spree and death in North Florida.

Hubert Allen Jr., 72, killed two men and wounded two others then killed himself, according to the Union County sheriff’s office.

Allen played a significant role in Spiller’s life. Spiller considered Nettie Pearl Allen, his late grandmother and Allen’s wife, a bedrock in his life.

“She taught me how to be a man, how to treat women, how to treat your elders, how to be an influence to young people and understanding the spotlight,” Spiller told News Reporter Tim Graham last week.

The Allens helped Spiller’s single mother, Patricia Watkins, raise her children. Spiller’s dad wasn’t around. Spiller was 18 before he and his father rekindled their relationship. Nettie Pearl Allen died when Spiller was in eighth grade.

Spiller declined to comment on the situation in the locker room after the Bills’ 30-7 loss to the Washington Redskins.

Spiller was aware of the initial news report of Allen’s involvement in a shooting before the game, team members said. Some teammates knew of the news, but numerous Bills players didn’t know of the tragedy in the locker room after the game.

“We just heard about it before we came out here today,” said running back Fred Jackson. “We’re still gathering details now, still trying to find out what went down and what happened. The only thing we can do is give him a shoulder to lean on right now, support him and his family and everybody involved.”

“It’s C.J.’s family,” Jackson said. “The first thing I did when I saw him was give him a big hug because it’s gotta be tough for him. I think that’s the No. 1 thing we can do is offer support and let him know that we’re here for him. He hasn’t said anything. He’s gotta be in shock. It’s a real tough situation for him. He’s really close with his granddad. He’s handling it pretty well right now. I’m sure the shock will set in.”

Said coach Doug Marrone: “I was made aware just now that there are various reports out there. I knew that the situation did occur prior to us playing. I didn’t know any facts or anything. I just became aware of the media reports now. I have no idea of what is true and what is going on. As far as I know, he knew something was happening personally, but we didn’t have any information prior to the game.”

Authorities said Allen, a long-time employee of a Florida trucking company, shot and killed former co-worker Rolando Gonzalez-Delgado, 28, around 9 a.m. Saturday then went a short distance and shot his former employer, 80-year-old Marvin Pritchett.

A few minutes later, he pulled over where another former co-worker was driving a farm tractor, exchanged words with him and then fired one shot from a shotgun, authorities said.

That victim, 66-year-old Lewis Mabrey Jr., was in good condition and receiving surgery for a broken arm and other injuries.

Not long after that, Allen went to the headquarters of Pritchett Trucking and shot 44-year-old David Griffis in the stomach, the sheriff’s department release said. Griffis was in critical condition.

Authorities say Allen then returned to his Lake Butler home and killed himself.

Investigators were working at the five shooting scenes late Saturday and interviewing witnesses and company employees. The news release said they were working to determine a motive.

The trucking company’s website says it employs 400 people and owns hundreds of vehicles. It said Pritchett started the company in 1980.

“The thing is we’re all brothers here,” said Bills linebacker Arthur Moats. “We definitely talked to him and said we’re there for you.”

News wire services contributed to this report.


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