Suspect in custody for murder of football pro from Mount Vernon

Posted: Updated:

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.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."