Police: W&M football player, 19, shot to death in Norfolk

Staff writer

A College of William and Mary student, a football player, was shot to death Thursday night in Norfolk.

Nate Evans, a 19-year-old sophomore, died of gunshot wounds Thursday night, according to the Norfolk Police Department and the college. Police were called to the 800 block of West 43rd Street for gunshots and found Evans on a sidewalk.

Medics pronounced Evans dead soon after, according to a Norfolk Police Department news release. Police are investigating the death as a homicide.

No arrests had been made as of Friday afternoon.

There have been two homicides so far this year in Norfolk, including Evans, the release said.

An Old Dominion University student said he was cooking pasta alfredo with his headphones on when he saw his roommates in the living room, who’d been watching TV, duck down. He took the headphones off and heard four to five gunshots.

He and his roommates eventually went outside. The student, who declined to give his name because he feared for his safety, said he saw a body, face down, on the sidewalk right outside a restaurant’s courtyard.

The restaurant, Hank’s Filling Station, closes at 10 p.m. Thursdays, according to its website, but there are several other nearby restaurants on Colley Avenue that stay open past midnight.

Dried blood remained on the sidewalk Friday afternoon, just feet from diners eating lunch.

In a letter to the William and Mary community, the school’s vice president for student affairs Ginger Ambler said Evans had a bright future academically and athletically.

“Nate was a valued member of the Tribe both on and off the field,” Ambler wrote. “He ranked second on the team in rushing during his sophomore season. Though he had yet to declare a major, Nate was interested in a career in public or global health....”

The Mechanicsville native and graduate of Lee-Davis High School initially didn’t commit to playing at William and Mary, according to Daily Press archives. Instead, he looked to play for the University of Richmond Spiders before he changed his mind and became a go-to running back for the Tribe offense.

In two years, he rushed for 684 yards and five touchdowns in 19 games, 14 of which he started.

In 2017, Evans became the program’s first true freshman to play at running back since 2008. He was the Tribe’s leading rusher, with 476 yards on 119 carries with three touchdowns.

As a sophomore, Evans was second on the team in rushing yards with 208 on 70 carries.

The college has sought to provide counseling to students grieving after Evans’ death, according to a William and Mary news release.

“Our hearts are broken for Nate’s teammates, friends and family,” Ambler wrote. “(William and Mary) is a very close community, and what affects one of us affects us all. Nate will be greatly missed.”

William and Mary’s head football coach Mike London said his team was grieving.

“Nate’s is a loss we are feeling deeply within our program,” London said in a statement. “Faith and family are the foundations of our program. We value relationships first. Our team has gathered together to support each other as we deal with the grief that comes from this tragedy. Additionally, we will do all we can to support and comfort Nate’s family and loved ones through this difficult time.”

The college has planned a memorial for 7 p.m. Monday at Zable Stadium to remember Evans.

Brittany Winston said she’s been friends with Evans since sixth grade and that they went to Lee Davis High School in Hanover before he went to William and Mary and she to ODU.

Winston said she doesn’t know why Evans would’ve been in Norfolk on Thursday night, but added that his best friend also goes to ODU.

Winston described Evans as amazing, giving and “very handsome,” the kind of guy whose jokes you’d laugh at, even if they weren’t the funniest, although his were. She also marveled at his appetite. He would eat anything and everything; when they went to Chipotle, he’d put away 12 tacos.

“That is insane,” she said with a smile.

Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329, by email at srobertsjr@vagazette.com and on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.

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