Arkansas-Pine Bluff's Sierra'Li Wade killed in shooting

LAKE VILLAGE, Ark. -- Arkansas-Pine Bluff women's basketball player Sierra'Li Wade has died following a shooting in her hometown.

Liz Chapman, a corporal in the Arkansas Department of Public Safety, said in a release that the shooting occurred Monday in Henry Augustus Johnson Park in Lake Village, Arkansas.

"Sierra, her spirit, she just made a presence around you,'' Arkansas-Pine Bluff coach Dawn Brown said Tuesday after the Lady Lions' 92-51 loss at No. 20 Tennessee. "She's 5-2, feisty, never wanted to give up. She pushed us. She was that teammate who, no matter what was going on, she would always make you laugh, make the coaches laugh, make you smile.''

Chapman said Lake Village police received a call Monday that people were shot at the park at 5:58 p.m. Wade was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.

Lake Village Police Chief Percy Wilburn said Wednesday that authorities are searching for 41-year-old Octavius Easterling in connection with the shooting. Authorities say Wade's brother was wounded in the shooting and is in stable condition.

Wade, an 18-year-old freshman walk-on guard from Lake Village, hadn't played in any of Arkansas-Pine Bluff's first three games. Arkansas-Pine Bluff coach Dawn Brown said Wade had been participating in practices, and the team was planning to start playing her in games when the Lady Lions began Southwestern Athletic Conference competition.

Brown said Wade also was serving in the school's ROTC program.

"She was full of life,'' Arkansas-Pine Bluff senior forward Aiya El Hassan said. "She was a really high-spirited girl. ... She never gave up during anything. She always pushed her hardest, and she was always determined to finish a layup or finish any play or any drill we were doing.''