Suspect arrested in shooting of Giants rookie Corey Ballentine

Suspect arrested in shooting of Giants rookie Corey Ballentine

An 18-year-old man was arrested in connection to the shooting of Giants rookie Corey Ballentine and the death of his Washburn teammate, Dwane Simmons. 

Francisco Alejandro Mendez has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and five counts of aggravated battery, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

Mendez has been accused of firing a gun from a vehicle at an off-campus house party on April 28, which wounded Ballentine and killed Simmons. The shooting happened hours after Ballentine was drafted by the Giants.

Mendez is being held on a $1 million bond by the Shawnee County district attorney’s office.

Washburn coach Craig Schurig told the Topeka Capital-Journal that he called Ballentine Friday to tell him that a suspect had been charged.

“You could tell there was a relief in his voice,” Schurig said. “It just helps — it helps to know that the people responsible are starting to get caught. And this is a big step. It was nice to be able to communicate with him some really good news.”

He added that he texted Simmons’ father about the news, as well.

“You can’t imagine what the Simmons family is going through, but today is a very good day,” Schurig said. “I haven’t had a chance to talk with our players or coaches, but I know we all feel a lot better tonight than we did last night.”

Ballentine missed the Giants’ rookie minicamp in early May as he recovered from his injuries. He’s expected to make a full recovery.