Arkansas State junior defensive lineman Markel Owens was one of two men shot to death in what authorities are calling a home invasion robbery in Jackson, Tenn.

"Our worst fears were realized as an athletics department after being notified early this morning about the unfortunate news about Markel," athletics director Terry Mohajir said in a statement. "We're deeply saddened and our utmost sympathies go out to his family, teammates and classmates."

Jackson police said Owens, 21, and Johnny Shivers, 36, were fatally shot during the robbery at a duplex on Wednesday night. Shivers died at the scene. Owens was transported to Jackson-Madison County General Hospital and pronounced dead.

A 37-year-old woman, who was Shivers' wife and Owens' mother, was also shot. She was treated and released from Jackson-Madison County General Hospital. Her name was not immediately released, but Owen's mother is listed as Chermaine Owens in the Arkansas State media guide.

Investigators say Shivers was arriving home when he was rushed by two masked men and forced inside the apartment. The suspects demanded money and a struggle began. Owens and his mother were inside the apartment at the time.

During the struggle, Owens helped Shivers and began fighting one of the men, police said. Shivers and Owens were both shot during the struggle. One of the gunmen then shot the woman. The robbers got away with a large amount of cash.

Investigators believe Shivers was specifically targeted. Police also discovered a large amount of marijuana inside the apartment. While the motive remains under investigation, police believe the robbers had prior knowledge of the drugs and/or cash inside the apartment.