Florida authorities have launched an investigation after a college baseball player was found shot dead inside his off-campus apartment in West Palm Beach Sunday.
The body of 21-year-old Derek Becker was found inside his apartment on Community Drive not far from the Keiser University’s flagship campus, where he played on the Seahawk baseball team. He was pronounced dead at the scene. At this time, his cause of death appears to be gunfire, West Palm Beach Police told Fox News.
Sgt. David Lefont, a spokesman for the department, declined to give more information about the investigation at this time.
“An unfortunate death occurred over the holiday break and Keiser University is mourning the loss of one of our own Derek Becker,” Dr. Arthur Keiser, the CEO and Chancellor of Keiser University, said, adding that Becker “was taken from us too early this past weekend.”
His baseball coach, Brooke Fordyce, said Becker “was not only a standout baseball player, but an exceptional friend and associate to those whose lives he touched,” according to Keiser’s statement.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to Derek’s family and we will continue providing them with all the assistance and support needed,” Keiser said. “We will celebrate the life of this extraordinary young man during the upcoming 2021 baseball season which will be designated in his honor.”
“Let me assure you that we are working with authorities to provide assistance and support,” he said. “While this incident occurred at an off-campus apartment complex, ensuring the safety of the students, faculty, and staff of the greater Keiser University community remains our primary focus. Grief counselors are being provided and we encourage all who may be experiencing sadness to reach out immediately.”
Becker transferred from Iona University, where his athletics bio said he was named after Yankees star and Miami Marlins owner Derek Jeter, the Miami Herald reported.
He graduated from Cohoes High School, near Albany, New York. The high school athletic director, Jeff Huneau, said the school was devastated to hear about the death of Becker, who he described as “an extremely hard worker, the ultimate competitor, a fantastic athlete, and a great young man.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” Huneau said.