Suspect in custody for murder of football pro from Mount Vernon

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Phoenix police have made an arrest in the December 2019 slaying of Mount Vernon native Lance McDowdell.

News 12 is told the suspect is 28-year-old Christopher Verland Ayers III, of Phoenix, Arizona.

McDowdell, 25, was fatally shot in Phoenix where he resided and played for the Arizona Rattlers. He was known for being an inspiring voice for young players.

MORE: Former Westchester high school athlete fatally shot in Arizona

The suspect has an arrest record dating back to 2010. He is being held at the Maricopa County Detention Facility on second-degree murder charges.

News 12’s Tara Rosenblum sat down with the family for a second time to discuss the new information.

MORE: Family of slain indoor football star demands justice in exclusive interview to News 12 

“We're just happy that we have a little closure into what happened. We're not going to be able to bring him back, but at least we know that person who did this to him is behind bars,” says McDowdell’s family member. “We've been waiting for this for over a month, so this is great news for us that finally someone is being held accountable for what happened to my brother.”

Up until today, the McDowdell family had no recollection of Ayers III, saying in part, “We had never heard of him until today. He had no connection to my brother.”

The Arizona Rattlers issued a statement thanking authorities for their diligence during the investigation.

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