By Julian Routh | News Editor
Duquesne football standout and Florida transfer Chris Johnson, 22, was found dead Friday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office. The medical examiner ruled Johnson’s death a suicide.
Duquesne head football coach Jerry Schmitt said in a statement Sunday that “everyone associated with the Duquesne football program is deeply saddened.”
“Chris was a passionate football player who was also a great teammate, who was loved by many,” Schmitt said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Chris’ family at this difficult time.”
Johnson, the Dukes’ starting safety, recorded 104 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in his two seasons with the team.
He transferred from the University of Florida in Jan. 2013 after two seasons with the Gators, in which he played defensive back and running back. As a Gator, he played in both the Sugar and Gator bowls.
Johnson was a three-star recruit from Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala, Florida. At Trinity, he helped the team to a state championship as a senior. As a recruit, he was offered by Louisville, Memphis, South Carolina and Vanderbilt, but ultimately chose Florida.
Johnson was pursuing a degree in communication studies at Duquesne.
To honor Johnson, members of the Duquesne football team and University community started the hashtag “RIP4” on Twitter. Here are some of their messages:
Man this really hurts. Loss of words #RIP4
— Sam Martello (@sam_martello) March 1, 2015
I’ve never been apart of a stronger brotherhood than my team I love my brothers and it kills to lose one.. #RIP4
— Austin Crimmins (@acrims23) March 1, 2015
Just laying here thinking about all the good times. I know you’re looking down on me from up above #RIP4
— Nathan Pebble (@Head_Huntin_23) March 1, 2015
This isn’t a team. I love each of these guys just as much as anyone that shares the same blood as me. I thank God 4 all of my brothers #RIP4
— colt (@colt_4T5) March 1, 2015
— J.J Elizik Hill II (@ElizikHill14) March 1, 2015