Did a Teammate Kill Patrick Dennehy?

updated 07/14/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/14/2003 01:00AM

The first shock was bad enough: Patrick Dennehy, a Baylor University basketball player, had disappeared—and police said his Baylor teammates might be implicated. Then came the bombshell: According to investigators, Dennehy, 21, was killed by his roommate Carlton Dotson, a former Baylor player. "Dotson told his cousin that he...had an argument with [Dennehy] while out shooting guns," police revealed in a June 23 affidavit for a warrant to search Dennehy's personal computer. When Dennehy pointed his gun at Dotson "as if to shoot him," the affidavit stated, Dotson "shot [him] in the head with a 9mm pistol."

As of June 30 police in Waco, Texas, had neither arrested Dotson nor found Dennehy's body. The news rocked the quiet Baylor campus, where Dennehy was known as bright and gifted yet something of a temperamental loner. "He didn't appear to be close" with his teammates, says Baylor communication studies professor John Cunningham, 39, who taught several players this spring. "I never saw him talking to them before or after class."

The exception was Dotson, a 6'7" junior forward from Maryland. "They said they were best friends," says LaDonna Newton, a neighbor in their off-campus apartment complex who attended a birthday barbecue Dennehy threw for Dotson not long ago. "They were always together. [Dennehy] said, 'This is the guy I can trust the most.' " Recently Dennehy invited Dotson to live in the apartment he shared with Chris Turk, 20. "Patrick let him move in and stay for free," says Turk. "I never saw them argue or fight."

Long before transferring to Baylor in 2002, Dennehy had a history of runins with players and coaches. Raised in the San Francisco Bay area, he left Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, Calif., because he clashed with his coach. At the University of New Mexico he shoved a teammate and stormed off in the final minutes of a game, and was later kicked off the squad.

On June 25 his abandoned 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe SUV, stripped of its license plate, was found in a shopping center parking lot in Virginia Beach. Cops believe that after the shooting Dotson drove home to Maryland, shedding the guns along the way. Now Dennehy's stunned friends and family must wait for more answers. "It's like I lost a son, a family member," says Nelson Washington, who coached Dennehy in a summer league. "No one sends their kid to college to get killed."

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