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Slain former GSU soccer player remembered

8:29 AM, Aug 21, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- Tunde Onadipe has only one question about the death of his 23-year-old nephew, "Why?"

All he and the family of Ayokunle Lumpkin know for sure is that he was shot to death after a traffic argument at an Atlanta party early Sunday morning.

"What we know is that there was a gun, multiple gunshots fired and one of the bullets hit him in the heart," his uncle told 11Alive News on Monday.

Ayokunle Lumpkin was visiting friends at a home on Milton Avenue in southeast Atlanta when he was shot around 1:45 a.m. Sunday, according to Atlanta Police spokeswoman Kim Jones.

A friend of Lumpkin's, Tyler Clayburn, was at the party and described what happened.

"A car hit the curb and spun out in the yard hitting someone's car. Ayokunle and a couple of others tried to keep the gentleman from leaving. Things got out of hand and I guess the guy panicked. That's when we heard gunshots," Clayburn said.

Clayburn was one of several friends who mourned Lumpkin at a candlelight vigil Sunday evening.

Born in New Jersey to Nigerian parents, Ayokunle grew up in east Cobb County, where he was known for his love of soccer.

He played at Sprayberry High School and then at Georgia State University, where he graduated last December with a psychology degree.

His uncle says the young man was considering either going into law enforcement or returning to school for a pharmacy degree.

Instead, his father is now flying back from Nigeria while the family makes funeral plans.

Atlanta Police found the suspect's getaway car Sunday evening.

11Alive News learned that someone claiming to be the gunman called at least one local defense attorney Monday seeking to turn himself in.

That attorney, who hasn't taken the case, told us the caller claimed an angry crowd rushed him, tore off his shirt and was attacking him when he fired in self-defense.

Lumpkin's uncle dismissed that claim.

"The person doesn't have a gun; how much threat can there be? No weapon," he said about his nephew.

As for the gunman's possible surrender, Onadipe said, "That's what we hope will happen; let justice take its full course and let the full weight of the law come upon him."

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