Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting early Monday, just hours after his team was eliminated from the NFL playoff race.
Williams, 24, and two others were riding in a white stretch Hummer limousine in downtown Denver when they came under fire, a little after 2 a.m. MT.
As many as a dozen bullet holes were visible on the driver's side of the vehicle, The Associated Press reported.
The limo, which sat in a downtown snowbank as police looked for clues, had one window blown out while four others had bullet holes.
Team spokesman Jim Saccomano told AP that police had confirmed Williams had been killed.
"All of us are devastated by this tragedy," Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said in a statement.
"To lose a young player, and more important, a great young man such as Darrent Williams, is incomprehensible. To lose him in such a senseless manner as this is beyond words."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Friday the organization does not know all the details yet, "but we are reaching out to the Broncos to offer our support."
The other victims, a male and a female, have not been identified. They were taken to St. Anthony Central Hospital, though it is not known how badly they were injured.
Police spokesman Sonny Jackson told AP that police were searching for suspects.
"We have no motive yet," he said. "We're hoping to talk with witnesses to find out where they were coming from, and that might give us some clues."
Jackson said there was a dispute at a nightclub several blocks from the shooting where Williams and his group had attended a party. He said the argument didn't specifically involve Williams, according to witnesses, and the confrontation wasn't physical, just taunts.
Police were searching for a white Suburban or Tahoe with dark-tinted windows. Jackson wouldn't identify any of the other passengers nor would he confirm whether any other Broncos players were in the limo, which can hold 23 people.
Players and coaches were scheduled to meet Tuesday before returning home for the offseason.
Broncos Coach Mike Shanahan said the killing left him "speechless with sadness."
"We all know that Darrent was an excellent player, but as a person, he was a first-class young man who brightened every room with his smile, attitude and personality," he said. "I cannot express how heartsick I feel at this loss."
Williams was in his second season with the Broncos coming out of Oklahoma State University as a second round draft choice.
He started nine times in his rookie season following a stellar college career.
Williams finished the season with 88 tackles, 78 of them solo, and four interceptions.
Hours before the shooting, the Broncos lost to San Francisco 49ers 26-23 in overtime, eliminating them from the NFL playoff race.
Williams had three tackles and returned two punts for 50 yards before leaving the game with a shoulder injury late in the second half.
After the game, Williams had said he planned to wait a few weeks before deciding if he needed an operation.
Williams' high school football coach in Fort Worth, Texas said the cornerback gravitated to the wrong crowd in his younger years.
"I remember he went to church and the minister was talking to him about needing to pray and stop hanging around with the wrong people, and he started straightening up and doing the right thing," Anthony Criss, who spoke to Williams as recently as two weeks ago, told the wire agency.
In December, Williams spoke of returning to his hometown this offseason to talk to youngsters about staying out of gangs.
He also considered opening a free football camp for young players.
"He had great compassion," Criss said. "He always wanted to try to make sure people did the right thing. He wanted to be a good parent, a good father, a good example for his kids. He will be missed."
Williams leaves behind two young children.