Nickey Maxwell Van Exel was arrested Wednesday night and jailed on $1 million bond in the death of Bradley Bassey Eyo, 23. Police said Eyo was found on Sunday with a gunshot wound to his upper body near Lake Ray Hubbard, on the outskirts of Dallas.
Authorities later determined that Eyo was killed at a home in the Dallas suburb of Garland and that his body was dumped near the lake, police said.
Paul Johnson, the younger Van Exel’s attorney, told The Associated Press that his client told police he shot Eyo, a longtime friend and neighbor, while the two were engaged in “horseplay” with a shotgun. He said Van Exel didn’t know the gun, which belonged to his stepfather, was loaded.
“It’s a real sad situation,” Johnson said. “Emotions are running high, and, obviously, we recognize that some very bad decisions were made on how he responded.”
The elder Van Exel played for the Dallas Mavericks from 2001 to 2003 as part of an NBA career that spanned 13 seasons and six teams. He is now working as player development instructor for the Atlanta Hawks, a job he began in September.
A call to the Hawks’ media relations department by the AP wasn’t returned. In a statement, the team said its thoughts were with the Van Exel family.
“Bradley was like part of the family,” Johnson said.