New developments as Oklahoma City Police confirm members of their gang unit and violent crimes task force arrested a man in connection with the death of a high school football star.
Michael Arelege was booked into the Oklahoma County Jail Tuesday night, but was transferred to the Cleveland County Jail Wednesday afternoon since the murder happened in their jurisdiction.
The shooting death of 16-year-old E.J. Zenon sent shockwaves through both Prague High where he attended and the town of Shawnee where he lived.
Friends and family of Zenon say he was a sports phenom at the school both on the football field, and also in his role on the schools track and wrestling teams. He also excelled in the classroom.
Zenon’s funeral was Tuesday, and had more than 700 people paying their respects.
“It was quite emotional, but it was also a starting process for healing,” said Prague Mayor Cliff Bryant.
Mayor Bryant said he grew to know EJ since he's also the sports announcer at the high school football games. He also attended EJ's funeral.
“He touched a lot of lives in 16 years,” said Mayor Bryant.
For a full week, investigators with the Oklahoma City Gang Unit and Violent Crimes Task Force searched for the suspect after getting a tip it might 19-year-old Michael Arelege. They found him at his home in Midwest City.
Arelege now stands accused of murder for the March 13 shooting and killing of Zenon outside the Brookwood Village apartments in South Oklahoma City.
“No matter what the circumstances were, this didn’t need to happen. It should not have happened,” said Mayor Bryant.
News 9 checked Arelege's criminal record and discovered he was serving a deferred sentence of a 2-year probation for a 2016 public intoxication charge and drug possession charge out of Kingfisher County, which were both plead down to misdemeanors.
A fund to help pay for both medical and funeral expenses for Zenon has been set up at Bank First. You can contribute at any Oklahoma branch.