Monday, February 22, 2010

Vanderbilt Recruit Killed in Murder-Suicide

A star football player from Cobb County with a bright future ahead of him was killed in a DV murder-suicide by his mother's ex-boyfriend.

Clifton Steger was no stranger to the Bennett family. He was at McEachern High two weeks ago when 18-year-old football star Rajaan Bennett signed his letter of intent to play at Vanderbilt.

"[Steger] was introduced as a friend to the family," said McEachern Athletics Director Jimmy Dorsey. But sometime last week Rajaan's mother, Narjaketha Bennett, broke up with Steger, a 39-year-old carpenter who'd lived much of his life in Detroit.

"He was out for revenge," said Dorsey, who told the AJC he had talked with Powder Springs Police and Rajaan's family earlier Thursday. Steger allegedly broke into the Bennett's home on Woodcrest Drive just southwest of downtown Powder Springs.

Rajaan's younger sister Narcharlette, a middle schooler, quietly called 911 around 2:30 a.m. to report Steger's intrusion, Dorsey said. Four minutes later police arrived and "as they approached and knocked on the door, they heard several gunshots," Powder Springs Police Maj. Charles Spann told the AJC.

Inside police found the bodies of Rajaan, captain of the 2009 McEachern football team and an all-state running back with a 3.8 GPA, and Steger, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, said Powder Springs Police spokesman Matt Boyd.

Rajaan's uncle, Taiwan Hunter, 32, was also shot; he is listed in critical condition at Atlanta Medical Center. Rajaan's mother and his two siblings, Narcharlette and Desybon, were unharmed.

Students held a vigil for Rajaan Thursday night. About 150 students gathered in huge ring around posters, candles and chalk messages on the concrete that paid tribute to their classmate.

McEachern has set up a fund to help the family pay for funeral expenses. To donate, send checks made out to the McEachern Endowment Fund with “Rajaan Bennett Memorial” written in the bottom left corner. McEachern High School’s address is 2400 New Macland Road, Powder Springs, GA 30127. For more information, please call 770-222-3710.

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