Hudson Valley mourns student loss

John C. Longton III, Sports Editor

Vikings football player Marcus Mendez was gunned down on his front porch in Queens, New York, alongside his childhood friend Peyton Manwaring while visiting home for the Halloween weekend on Oct. 31.

Manwaring was pronounced dead on the scene and Mendez died on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center due to gunshot wounds to his leg. He was a criminal justice major and had dreams of becoming a federal agent.

Head coach of the football team Mike Meuhling told his team after the incident, “ I just kind of informed them of what happened and told them to pray for his family and the family of the other young man that was with him, Payton. I also told them to take some time and give their loved ones a call and keep them in your thoughts and prayers because you just never know. You know it may not be something like this, but things happen that are unexpected. You can never plan for something like this to happen.”

Mendez was the second current or former Hudson Valley football player to pass away this year. Shyheem Anderson, a 27 year old from Jersey City, was struck by a car on Oct. 3 in his native city where he was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead.

“It’s tough. They’re all equally as difficult, whether it’s we’ve had recruits pass away before they’ve ever come on campus. That’s even tough. I had a player die even my first year here pass away in his sleep. You’re never prepared for it, and you’re never going to deal with it the same way. None of it’s ever easy. These are young kids. Shoot, when you lose an older person it’s still tough, but to lose a kid who’s 18, 19 years old makes it extremely difficult. You can’t be really equipped to deal with it. So it is tough,” said Meuhling.

Mendez was loved and will be missed by all. “Great friend, better teammate and exceptional talent,” said teammate Chandler Foster, a sophomore from Stamford, Connecticut. “He will be in our hearts forever.”

No arrests have been made in the case and police are still searching for clues.

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