Adreian Payne death: Alleged gunman believed shooting was ‘justified,’ reports say

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The man accused of killing former Michigan State basketball player Adreian Payne told deputies that he was protecting his family and believed the shooting was “justified,” according to multiple reports. 

Deputies were called around 1:30 a.m. Monday to an area outside a Florida home, where they found Payne, 31, suffering from gunshot wounds. 

The college basketball standout, who also played four seasons in the NBA, was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. 

Lyon-Villeurbanne's US center Adreian Payne plays with a ball during the Euroleague basketball match between LDLC ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne and Olympiakos Basket Balle in Villeurbanne, central-eastern France on Oct. 4, 2019.

Lyon-Villeurbanne’s US center Adreian Payne plays with a ball during the Euroleague basketball match between LDLC ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne and Olympiakos Basket Balle in Villeurbanne, central-eastern France on Oct. 4, 2019.
(ROMAIN LAFABREGUE/AFP via Getty Images)

The suspect, Lawrence Dority, 29, was arrested on a warrant for first-degree murder after the shooting. 

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Dority told authorities that he interpreted Payne’s presence at his home as a threat, FOX 35 Orlando, citing an Orange County Sheriff’s Office report. Dority said he saw Payne holding the “shape of a gun” before Payne allegedly told him, “I’ll smoke you, bra.”

Lawrence Dority

Lawrence Dority
(Orange County Sheriff’s Office)

“This man tried coming to my house, he cut around my block, and he tried shooting me,” Dority stated in the report. “He reached for his gun, I ran inside my house and I shot him.” 

Dority told deputies his father dropped him off at the residence around 1:30 a.m. when they saw an unknown vehicle parked on the road. Dority, who went over to speak to the driver, “appeared to be intimidated based on the size difference and Dority’s stance,” his father said. 

The father said he saw Dority go inside the home before hearing the sound of a gunshot, though he wasn’t sure where it came from, the report stated. Soon after, he saw an injured Payne in the vehicle. 

Payne’s girlfriend told detectives that she and Payne went to the neighborhood at the request of Dority’s girlfriend to serve as mediators and prevent any physical violence,” WESH-TV reported. Authorities said Payne was not armed at the time of the shooting, and no firearm was found in his vehicle. 

Payne was a standout at Michigan State from 2010 to 2014. He was twice selected to the All-Big Ten Second Team — in 2013 and 2014.

Adreian Payne #5 of the Michigan State Spartans reacts after a basket against the Connecticut Huskies during the East Regional Final of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 30, 2014 in New York City. 

Adreian Payne #5 of the Michigan State Spartans reacts after a basket against the Connecticut Huskies during the East Regional Final of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 30, 2014 in New York City. 
(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

In the 2012-13 season, Payne averaged 10.5 points and 7.6 rebounds for the Spartans in 36 games. The next season, he helped the Spartans to a Big Ten Tournament championship. He averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game that year.

The Atlanta Hawks selected Payne with the No. 15 overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft, and he later played with the Minnesota Timberwolves. In nearly three seasons in Minnesota, he averaged 4.1 points and 3.1 rebounds in 99 games.

He would later play five games for the Orlando Magic before finding success in Europe. He was part of teams that won the French Cup and the Greek Basketball Cup in 2018 and 2019, respectively. He was recently playing for Juventus Utena in Lithuania.

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The NBA and college basketball communities paid tribute to Payne following his death. On Monday, Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green announced that he and his wife plan on donating $100,000 to a foundation in his honor. 

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report