LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- When he saw the news that Orlando high school football standout and Louisville signee Dexter Rentz, Orlando resident and Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal didn't take long in reaching out to the young man's family.
After taking some time to learn about the two-sport athlete, ESPN is reporting that O'Neal got in touch with Rentz's parents and offered to pay for the funeral expenses, including a custom casket and horse-drawn carriage.
"He was on his way, he really was," O'Neal said of Rentz, a standout at Ocoee High School. "I don't know what it feels like to lose a son, but I know what it feels like to lose someone. This one hurts my heart. It really does. I wish things like this would never go on. It's just so sad, and I want to be able to help his family. I wanted to take care of it."
Rentz, 18, had signed to play football for Louisville in December. He was one of four people shot late Saturday night, but was the only fatality. Orlando police are investigating. Salisa Rentz Sinclair told The Orlando Sentinel that her son was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and was struck by drive-by shots intended for someone else.
She said her son had been visiting his grandfather and was in the car and about to leave when the shots were fired. His brother was in the car with him and tried to save him.
"They [were] at my daddy's house on Ellese Street, right across the street from, I guess, the apartment house where these guys were shooting," Rentz's mother told The Sentinel. "These guys just were doing a drive-by and let off rounds. It hit Dexter, but it was not targeted for Dexter. He got shot on his left side. The guys let off over 15 rounds. ... This was all from some rap beef, I guess."
O'Neal, who is involved in a multitude of charitable efforts and is the spokesperson for Louisville-based Papa John's, told ESPN he wanted to help with "whatever his mom wants." O'Neal is known for stepping in to help during such times. Last week, he paid for the funeral of an 11-year-old who was killed in a car crash in Louisiana.
Louisville coach Scott Satterfield said in a statement on Sunday, “We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Dexter Rentz. He was a great young man who had a contagious personality and was able to light up a room with his smile. He was a great kid to be around and he will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Rentz family during this extremely difficult time."
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