Former NFL player, wife shot to death by 16-year-old son, police say

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter, Jennifer Bauer - Reporter

HOUSTON - The 16-year-old son of Antonio Armstrong has been charged with murder in connection with a shooting that killed his father and his mother early Friday morning, according to the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

The shooting happened at a two-story home in the 5300 block of Palmetto Street, near Bellaire.

Houston police told Channel 2 that Armstrong and his wife were both shot inside their home. The wife was pronounced dead at the scene. Armstrong was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head. He later died from the injury.

Homicide investigators said there was no history of domestic violence between the couple.

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Antonio Armstrong (left) and his wife, Dawn

Police said two of the couple’s three children were home at the time. Neither of the children were hurt. The couple's 16-year-old son was detained by police for questioning, investigators said.

"This was an outstanding family. The male of the family was an absolute hard working breadwinner," Houston police homicide Investigator Jimmy Dodson said. "He was an associate pastor in the area church. He's a great guy. The mother was apparently a great mother, according to family members. Like I said, it was kind of the all-American family."

There was no sign of forced entry into the home and no sign of a struggle in the bedroom where the couple was found, investigators said.

A motive for the shooting has not yet been released.

"Fantastic people. I have no idea why this would be happening to them,” said family friend Scott Binkley. “He was one of A&M's top 25 athletes. Served the Lord. Worked in the community. Did nothing but help people constantly. We are just shocked at what happened."

Armstrong was a former professional athlete, physical fitness trainer and motivational speaker.

"Antonio grew up in the inner city. We minister to inner city kids. And he was one of the kids that stayed focused. He knew Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior. He moved on with his life and just accomplished things that you couldn't believe," Binkley said.

According to NFL.com, Armstrong played one season for the Miami Dolphins in 1995. Previously, he was an All-American linebacker for Texas A&M.

All day Friday People stopped by First Class Training, the personal gym Armstrong owned.

"He was just a really good football coach and was always there for me when I needed him most," Gavin Mott said.

Mott played football for Armstrong. They shared a bond that will stay with him forever.

"I felt like he was my family almost. When he died it made me really sad," Mott said.

"Effervescent personalities. They will be sorely missed. This is a staggering, and I mean staggering, loss," Kirbyjon Caldwell said.

Caldwell is a local pastor and friend of the Armstrongs. He said family members have now started planning the funerals.

"Arrangements are being made and I understand the funerals are being held at our church. Details to follow," Caldwell said.

A GoFundMe account has been started to help raise money for the family. Click here to donate.

Texas A&M released a statement on the tragedy:

"Former Texas A&M football lettermen and 1994 first-team Associated Press All-American Antonio Armstrong and wife, Dawn, passed away Friday in Houston.

Armstrong, a linebacker from Houston Kashmere High School, lettered for the Aggies from 1991-94 and was a two-time All-Southwest Conference selection. He earned All-America honors and was named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award as a senior after leading the SWC in quarterback sacks and tackles for loss."

Statement from Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin:

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Antonio Armstrong and his family, his old teammates and the entire Aggie family. Our strength coach Larry Jackson was a teammate of Antonio's and thought the world of him. This is a terrible tragedy and our hearts are broken."

2016 Click2Houston/KPRC2