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'He was like my little brother' | Community remembers Willie Simmons III, Austin shooting victim

Willie Simmons was one of three people killed in the northwest Austin shooting on Sunday.

ELGIN, Texas — In the wake of the northwest Austin shooting, family, friends and the Elgin community mourn the loss of Willie Simmons III. 

Simmons III was one of three people killed at an apartment complex near the Arboretum on Sunday. His girlfriend, Alyssa Broderick, and Broderick's mother, Amanda Broderick, were identified as the other victims

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When news of Simmons' passing spread, messages of remembrance flooded online. 

Elgin ISD released the following statement on Monday about Simmons III and Alyssa Broderick: 

"We are heartbroken by the news of this senseless tragedy, and we extend our deepest condolences to the families of Willie Simmons III and Alyssa Broderick," the district said. "Although Alyssa withdrew from Elgin ISD back in the fall, she was an Elgin ISD student from 2009 to October 2020. She was an excellent student and athlete, enrolled in our Early College High School program and played on our girls’ basketball team. Willie was a senior at Elgin High School. He was an exceptional young man and leader among his peers. Strong, both academically and athletically, he represented the very best of Elgin ISD. He was the Captain of our football team; a friend to everyone he met; and most recently, recruited to play football for the University of North Texas. The Elgin ISD community grieves the loss of these two young, promising souls. In response to this tragedy, the district will have counselors and trained professionals available via in person and/or virtually to assist students, staff and families in this time of grief."

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Simmons played football at Elgin High School and was a freshman linebacker for the North Texas Mean Green. He also received offers from the Air Force, New Mexico, Lamar and Missouri State. 

UNT head football coach Seth Littrell posted to his Twitter account: 

"Willie Simmons was exactly the kind of young man that every college coach wants to recruit. His athletic talent was obvious, but his personal character, his selfless attitude and his passion for life made him a natural leader and the perfect teammate. We are deeply saddened by his loss and we pray for peace and comfort for his family, friends and the Elgin community. He will forever be a member of our Mean Green football family."

A makeshift memorial drew mourning community members in Elgin together on Monday to grieve the loss of all the victims. KVUE's Mari Salazar spoke with some of the people who knew them, all with bittersweet memories of their lost friends. 

In the video below, you can hear from those who knew and loved Simmons.

WATCH: Northwest Austin shooting victims remembered

"Willie was like my little brother,"  Shanice Ross said.

When asked to describe Simmons in one word, his friends used words like "athletic" and "electric."

"It's like losing your whole heart and you don't have any place for love anymore because he's gone," Jaylen Cook said.

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