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Practice Canceled After NIU Football Player’s Shooting

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NIU Linebacker Devon Butler

Northern Illinois University Linebacker Devon Butler (Credit: NIU Athletics)

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UPDATED 04/07/11 4:21 p.m.

DEKALB, Ill. (CBS) – Spring football practice is canceled for Thursday at Northern Illinois University, as a Huskies football player remains critically wounded from a shooting.

Meanwhile, two suspects in the shooting have been ordered held on $1 million bond.

NIU linebacker Devon Butler was shot in the back Tuesday night at an off-campus apartment.

As of Thursday morning, he remained in critical condition at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford.

Police say two fellow students drove by and opened fire on the apartment, apparently in revenge for a drug deal gone bad earlier in the day.

Butler was inside at the time visiting a friend. DeKalb police say he had nothing to do with the drug deal.

DeKalb police said two men — Mark O. Orozco, 24, and Richard F. Van Arsdale III, 20, both of DeKalb — have been charged with attempted first degree murder and several other drug and weapons charges. Both suspects are NIU students.

DeKalb County Judge Robin Stuckert ordered both men held on $1 million each during a Thursday bond hearing, said DeKalb County Asst. State’s Attorney Phil Montgomery.

Orozco is suspected of being the triggerman in the “drug-rip off gone bad’’ and he is scheduled to appear April 21 for a status hearing while Van Arsdale, who was driving the SUV Orozco was shooting from, is scheduled to appear May 2, also for status, according to Montgomery. Orozco faces more time in prison if he is convicted.

The men allegedly targeted the first-floor apartment Butler was visiting because they believed a man who had taken marijuana from them without paying earlier that day lived there.

Stephanie Tate lives in another apartment in the same building. She tells CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli she narrowly missed being shot herself.

“The bullet hole is right there, and my bedroom is right up there,” Tate said. “It was like, pow, pa-pow,”

Huskies head coach Dave Doeren was at the hospital with Butler on Wednesday and has been in close contact with his family.

“All our thoughts and prayers as a team and as a coaching staff right now are with Devon,” Doeren said. “He’s a member of our family and the most important thing is his health.”

According to the team’s website, Butler, 20, is a junior at NIU, majoring in communication and minoring in physical education. He was born in Englewood, N.J., and went to high school in Florida.

He was selected to the 2010 All-MAC Third Team Defense. In 2010, he ranked second on the team in tackles with 71 and ranked third in tackles for loss with 5.5.

NIU Athletics Director Jeff Compher and the team’s assistant coaches met with players Wednesday morning to advise them of the situation.

“As an athletic department and as a university, I know that we are going to support Devon, his family and his teammates in every way we can,” Compher said. “Our primary focus is on all of our student-athletes at this time.”

Doeren has cancelled all football team activities, including Thursday morning’s spring football practice, until further notice.

The NIU student newspaper, Northern Star, reported Wednesday that the NIU student was out of surgery after being shot on the right side of his back Tuesday night.

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