MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Under the bright lights of Northpoint Christian School football stadium, Christian Saulsberry thrived.

His ability to elude defenders propelled Northpoint to a state championship in 2015. Talent — that opened doors to play at the University of West Alabama and in the Canadian football league this season.

The professional athlete’s life came to an abrupt ending on Saturday, December 17, when the Southaven native was shot and killed in Walls, Mississippi.

Officers arrested Mark McDaniel and charged him with second-degree murder for the death of Saulsberry, who was shot multiple times.

Mark McDaniel

McDaniel’s uncle tells WREG the shooting was sparked by a fight at a party. He claims his nephew was attacked by multiple people, including Saulsberry who hit him as he attempted to leave.

“He started attacking my nephew. My nephew shot him, and he took off and went home. He shot him in self-defense,” McDaniel said.

We asked investigators with the Desoto County Sheriff’s Department about the claims of self-defense and the charges McDaniel is facing but a spokesperson wouldn’t elaborate on the case.

Regardless, the outcome weighs heavily for many. Including, Northpoint Christian School. They released a statement, saying in part:

May our Heavenly Father cover our broken hearts with strength, hope, love, and peace only He can provide.

 Northpoint Christian School