Calgary man charged in death of Stampeders player

Police say a 19-year-old Calgary man with second-degree murder

This is a 2015 photo of Mylan Hicks of the San Francisco 49ers NFL football team. The Calgary Stampeders say team member Mylan Hicks died after his ``life was taken in act of violence early on Sunday morning.'' THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP

This is a 2015 photo of Mylan Hicks of the San Francisco 49ers NFL football team. The Calgary Stampeders say team member Mylan Hicks died after his “life was taken in act of violence early on Sunday morning.” (CP)

CALGARY — Police say about 20 witnesses, including several members of the Calgary Stampeders, were interviewed following the weekend shooting death of their teammate, Mylan Hicks.

A 19-year-old man was charged Monday with second-degree murder after Hicks, a 23-year-old defensive back who was on the football team’s practice roster, was gunned down outside a nightclub early Sunday morning.

“There was an altercation and that involved several people inside the nightclub and was believed to have been over,” Insp. Don Coleman said at a news conference announcing the arrest.

“Then, once the bar lets out, the altercation continued and was escalated in the parking lot, but I don’t know that Mr. Hicks was targeted in any way.

“There was … probably upwards of 20 or more witnesses that were interviewed … and the information provided by those witnesses ranges but we’ve got a fair bit of co-operation from those people.”

Police are still asking for anyone who may have videoed the incident to come forward as well.

Nelson Tony Lugela is charged with second-degree murder and is scheduled to appear in court Friday morning. Two other men arrested at the time of the shooting were released without charge.

Coleman said there were outstanding warrants for Lugela’s arrest, but he didn’t have any other details on Lugela’s past interactions with police.

The team has said several players were at the Marquee Beer Market and Stage after their win Saturday against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Coleman said “quite a number” of Stampeder players were among the many that were interviewed.

The police tape was gone from the scene Monday. A neon sign reminded patrons about the bar’s daily Happy Hour.

The Marquee posted a statement on Twitter on Monday that said it was working with police.

“The security protocols that are in place, such as ID scans and pat downs for all patrons entering our facility, as well as the professionalism of our staff, will hopefully lead to swift justice for the perpetrator of this horrendous crime,” the statement said.

The nightclub, which reopened in 2013, had a notorious past in its previous incarnation as The Back Alley.

The Back Alley was the site of a confrontation between professional wrestler Davey Boy Smith, known as The British Bulldog, and 19-year-old Kody Light.

The two got into a fight on the dance floor over comments that Light made to Smith’s wife, Diana Hart Smith, of Calgary’s Hart wrestling clan.

Smith, who died in 2002, was acquitted of aggravated assault after Light fell backward, fracturing his skull on the cement tile floor, suffering permanent injuries, including a skull fracture, deafness in one ear, and slurred speech.

Coleman said even with a rebranding the bar continues to attract the attention of police.

“I think that location, despite the name change, continues to be a draw on our resources in that area,” said Coleman.

“I know from having worked in that area in the past and speaking to officers recently, there’s lots of activity around that bar and it’s patrolled very well by our membership.”

The current owner of Marquee did not respond to a request for a comment.

Hicks signed with the Stampeders in May but hadn’t played a game this season with the team, who are currently first in the West Division and on a 12-game unbeaten streak.

He was born in Detroit and played for Michigan State, where he recorded a career-high 19 tackles and four pass break-ups in nine games in his senior year in 2014.

Hicks signed with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent in May 2015 before being released at the end of training camp.