Jacksonville football star is killed in shooting over dog bite; father arrested

·5 min read
UCF Knights running back Otis Anderson Jr. runs the ball against the Brigham Young Cougars during the second half at FAU Stadium on Dec. 22, 2020.
UCF Knights running back Otis Anderson Jr. runs the ball against the Brigham Young Cougars during the second half at FAU Stadium on Dec. 22, 2020.

Former University Christian School running back Otis Anderson Jr., a back-to-back state champion on his way to a noted football career at the University of Central Florida and a trip to the NFL, is being mourned in a domestic shooting Monday night.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office arrested the 23-year-old's father at their home on Johnson Lake Court, where his mother also was grazed by bullets. Denise Anderson, 49, told investigators her husband became enraged after being bit by a dog that belonged to their son's girlfriend, according to the arrest report.

Otis Lee Anderson Sr., who turned 52 Tuesday, is charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder.

Anderson Jr.
Anderson Jr.

The Anderson home remained quiet the morning after the shooting, a car and pickup truck in the driveway at the end of a cul-de-sac off Dunn Avenue. A small UCF garden flag is evident in the lawn next to the front door.

Officers were called to the home about 9:20 p.m. and found Anderson Jr. suffering from at least one gunshot to the chest, according to the arrest report. He was pronounced dead at UF Health Jacksonville, while his mother was treated and released.

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His mother said the elder Anderson was "upset and he was bleeding throughout the house" after suffering the dog bite, according to the report. Anderson Jr. came downstairs to see what happened and got into an argument with his father.

His mother told him to go back upstairs, which he apparently did. Then she and her husband began to argue, the report said.

A couple of vehicles remain at 5201 Johnson Lake Court on Tuesday where Otis Anderson Jr. was shot and killed the night before and his mother wounded. Anderson's father was arrested by Jacksonville police.
A couple of vehicles remain at 5201 Johnson Lake Court on Tuesday where Otis Anderson Jr. was shot and killed the night before and his mother wounded. Anderson's father was arrested by Jacksonville police.

The father "flipped the downstairs recliner," which caused the son to come back downstairs to check on his mother. Father and son got into another argument, and "it appeared like they were going to fight," the arrest report said.

The son went to the dining room, while his father went into the garage. The father came back in and met his son in the kitchen.

The next part of the report is redacted. But it is apparently when the shooting occurred as the narrative continues by stating that a detective looked at the son's wounds and "observed what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his chest and back [shoulder blade]."

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A bullet hole was found in a dining room window, another in the master bedroom and fragments around the kitchen sink, the report said. It also lists alcohol as being involved.

Multiple former teammates expressed their shock and sorrow, including former UCF and Ed White offensive lineman Jordan Johnson, current Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Tay Gowan and former UCF teammate and current pro wrestler Parker Boudreaux.

Anderson Sr.
Anderson Sr.

University of Tennessee head football coach Josh Heupel, who coached Anderson at UCF, wrote: "Saddened and stunned by the passing of Otis Anderson Jr. Tough and gritty, fun and full of laughter, he made such a positive impact on our university, community, and our locker room. He was an unbelievable teammate. My condolences go out to the entire UCF family."

In a statement released to social media Tuesday, UCF's athletic department said, "We have now confirmed and are devastated to hear of the passing of Otis Anderson Jr. He was revered by his teammates, our fans, and everyone within Knight Nation. Our deepest condolences go out to everyone who loved Otis. He was taken too soon and will truly be missed."

Anderson Jr., who is not related to NFL great Ottis "OJ" Anderson, played as a breakaway running back and kick returner at UC, where he won Florida High School Athletic Association championships for Class 2A in 2015 and 2016. He gained more than 1,000 yards in each of his last two seasons at the school.

University Christian running back Otis Anderson Jr. is pictured on Dec. 1, 2015. Anderson won back-to-back Florida High School Athletic Association championships at UC, and later played college football at UCF and NFL football with the Los Angeles Rams.
University Christian running back Otis Anderson Jr. is pictured on Dec. 1, 2015. Anderson won back-to-back Florida High School Athletic Association championships at UC, and later played college football at UCF and NFL football with the Los Angeles Rams.

The Los Angeles Rams signed Anderson as an undrafted free agent in June but released him from the practice squad in September.

At UCF, Anderson played for the Knights from 2017 to 2020, including the program's perfect 13-0 season in 2017. He concluded his college career eighth in UCF history in all-purpose yards with 3,708, eighth in touchdowns with 27 and second in yards per carry with 6.1. The Times-Union named him to the annual First Coast All-Football Bowl Subdivision team in both 2019 and 2020.

The shooting death marks the 119th homicide in Jacksonville this year, according to Times-Union data. That compares to 170 at this time last year.

Clayton Freeman covers high school sports and more for the Florida Times-Union. Follow him on Twitter at @CFreemanJAX.

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Otis Anderson Jr., former UCF star, is killed in Jacksonville shooting

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