19-year-old charged with murder in nightclub death of Calgary Stampeders' Mylan Hicks

One of three men detained in the weekend shooting of Calgary Stampeders player Mylan Hicks at a nightclub has been charged with second-degree murder.

Nelson Lugela will make his first court appearance on Sept. 30

Nelson Lugela, 19, has been charged with second-degree murder after a shooting outside a Calgary nightclub early Sunday morning that killed Calgary Stampeders player Mylan Hicks. (Crime Stoppers)

One of three men detained in the shooting of Calgary Stampeders player Mylan Hicks at a nightclub on the weekend has been charged with second-degree murder.

Nelson Lugela, 19, was charged Monday, Calgary police said. Hicks, a 23-year-old defensive back originally from Detroit, died in hospital after the shooting at the Marquee nightclub on Macleod Trail in Calgary early Sunday morning.

Investigators believe a fight inside the nightclub between two groups eventually moved outside, where the shooting took place.

Mylan Hicks, 23, signed with the Stampeders in May and was on the CFL team's practice roster. He hadn't yet played a game this season. (Calgary Stampeders)

Lugela and two other suspects were taken into custody when they returned to the scene of the shooting and were pointed out by witnesses, said Insp. Don Coleman, with the Calgary Police Service major crimes section.

"We have retrieved a firearm and we're working to determine if it was the one used in this incident," he said.

The two other suspects have been released pending further investigation.

Witnesses sought

Police also seized a vehicle found in the 4000 block of Stanley Place S.W. It is believed the suspects used it to flee the nightclub and it is now being examined by the forensic crime scene unit.

Lugela already had matters before the court, including a charge of possession of stolen property. He will be back in court on Sept. 30.

"Officers believe a number of people may have recorded the incident on their cellphones. Anyone who may have photos or videos of the incident, who has not already spoken to police, is asked to call the Calgary Police Service," Coleman said. 

Calgary police are looking for anyone who has video of the altercation they say escalated from an earlier incident inside the nightclub. (Kate Adach/CBC)

Witnesses can call police at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

The Stampeders reacted with shock after hearing of his death. Hicks signed with the Stampeders in May and was on Calgary's practice roster, although he hadn't yet played a game this season.

Bar shocked, profoundly saddened

A spokesperson for Marquee Beer Market said they were horrified by the incident.

"We are shocked and profoundly saddened at the tragic death of Mylan Hicks. Our thoughts, sympathies and prayers are with his family, friends, teammates, and his many fans across North America," Jeremiah Jurcic said in a statement.

Hicks gave '110%'

Fellow Stamps defensive back Joshua Bell said he didn't see the shooting take place and doesn't know why it happened.

"I guess wrong spot, wrong time," Bell said. "Or mistaken identity, they may have thought he was somebody else — same coloured shirt, something like that."

He used football as a launch pad to make it out of the city.- Former teammate on victim's move out of Detroit

He called Hicks' family.

"Hicks was a dog on that football field, he was 110 per cent. He knew nothing but push the button and go. It was either on or off. He was family, he family. My little bro," Bell said.

Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell said the team would honour Hicks.

"I am just saddened thinking about his family and the news and the phone call they got," Mitchell said.

"I know we are going to honour him as much as we can and play for him and his family and attack the game we know he would have."

Making it out of Detroit

Stampeders' president and general manager John Hufnagel also praised Hicks at a news conference on Sunday.

"He worked hard every day to get better and he had patience and he had all the traits you wanted to have in that locker room," he said.

"It's a terrible tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mylan's family."

Hicks played for the Michigan State University Spartans, where he recorded a career-high 19 tackles and four pass breakups in nine games in his senior year in 2014.

Edmonton Eskimos' Shakir Bell, left, is hauled down by Mylan Hicks during first half CFL pre-season football action in Calgary on June 11. The Calgary Stampeders say team member Mylan Hicks died after his 'life was taken in act of violence early on Sunday morning.' (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Darien Harris, who played with Hicks on the Spartans, told the Calgary Homestretch his old friend was living the dream of many inner-city youth from crime-troubled cities such as Detroit.

"You know, you have a goal to make it out. And Mylan was one of the ones that made it out. He used football as a launch pad to make it out of the city," he said.

"He did what he was supposed to do. He got his college degree, which so many kids from Detroit wish they had … and he had moved on to play professional football." 

Before joining the Stamps, Hicks signed with the NFL's San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent in May 2015 before being released at the end of training camp.

With files from The Canadian Press