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Fort Cherry football player, 18, shot, killed

| Sunday, April 8, 2007

Pennsylvania State Police in Washington County are investigating the shooting death of a high school football player from Hickory.

Police identified the victim as 18-year-old Ryan Bricklemyer. He was shot about 7:05 p.m. Friday in a repair shop along Belgium Hollow Road in Mt. Pleasant Township and died about 90 minutes later at Canonsburg Hospital. The cause of death was a gunshot wound in the chest, according to the Washington County Coroner's Office. A ruling on the manner of Bricklemyer's death is pending.

A senior at Fort Cherry High School in McDonald, Bricklemyer was a reserve defensive tackle on the football team. He stood 6-foot-3 and weighed 315 pounds.

"He was a big kid," said Tim Garry, his football coach. "His heart was a little bigger than his body. He'll be greatly missed."

Nicknamed "Brick," Bricklemyer played football late in his high school career and was used mostly in goal line situations.

"Every day, he had a smile on his face and was full of enthusiasm," his coach said. "It's going to hit everybody real hard not having him around anymore."

Garry said Bricklemyer had lost his father about five years ago. The teen later worked as a dishwasher at the Village Green Golf Course in Hickory.

"He was a big teddy bear," recalled Bryan Bell, 21, a cook at the golf course. "He was a bigger kid that everyone just loved."

A man who answered the phone at the repair shop where the shooting took place identified himself only by his first name, John. He said the shop is in the garage of his home.

John said he was at home but not in the garage when the incident occurred. He said four football players -- including his nephew, whom he would not identify, and Bricklemyer -- visited the shop, which was closed at the time.

"We had an accident," he said. "A gun went off, and a boy was killed."

The shooting was the second in a week involving a high school athlete.

A Hill District man, Marcus Cleaster Longmire, 19, has been charged in the March 31 shooting of Aliquippa High School basketball star Herb Pope, 18, who was wounded in the abdomen, leg and arm.

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