Friends and family of Royce Lillard III and his wife, Molly, are wondering what the motive was behind the apparent murder-suicide in their Scottsdale home on Sunday.
According to police, Molly’s husband, Royce Lillard III, 36, shot her before eventually killing himself inside their Arizona home. Police found the wife with gunshot wounds outside of their house around 5 p.m. Sunday. She was then transported to the hospital. Her injuries turned fatal. The primary suspect, Royce Lillard, then barricaded himself in his home.
The SWAT team tried to establish contact with Royce before entering the home around 10:45 p.m., but he was found dead inside the home from an alleged self-inflicted gunshot, the Arizona Republic reported.
The couple had an 8-month-old baby who was in the home at the time of the incident, but the baby was unharmed. The child is now being taken care of by the family of the deceased.
Molly Elizabeth Lillard, known also by her maiden name, Molly Toon, was a volleyball star and the daughter of Jets great Al Toon, who set records at the University of Wisconsin before getting drafted in the NFL. The wide receiver made it to the Pro Bowl three times in eight years.
As for Molly, her athletic career followed her from Middletown High School where she graduated in 2010, all the way to the University of Michigan.
According to Yahoo! Sports, Lillard was a four-year letter-winner for the Wolverines. In 2013, her senior year, she earned honorable mention all-American honors from the American Coaches Association.
NBC 15 reported on the memories she shared during her time in Middleton. “For all the players that I coached in my lifetime she was the only one that would actually challenge the coaches,” her coach, Marcos said. He has coached high school and club volleyball since 1986. “She didn’t only demand the best from her teammates but as a coach, you have to be on your A-game too.”
The daughter of the NFL star was known for her outstanding performance and desire to succeed. “The other great thing about her was when the game was on the line, she wanted that ball. For her it’s like ‘bring it, I’m ready.'”
One of Molly Lillard’s teammates, Laura Wilkinson, who was co-captain of the volleyball team with Molly their senior year, said she always looked up to her. “When I think of Molly I think of someone who was so determined and such an inspiration,” Wilkinson was quoted saying. “Always paving her own path. Always doing things and walking to the beat of her own drum. Her passion for everything on and off the court was unbelievable. She had an infectious energy. It was an honor to play with her and know her.”
Molly and Al Toon weren’t the only athletic stars in the family. Her brother, Nick Toon, was a receiver for the Badgers before being selected in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints. He stayed in the league through the 2015 season.
Lillard’s sister, Kirby Toon, played volleyball at Wisconsin, and her younger sister Sydney played volleyball at UW-Whitewater.
The police are still investigating what happened in Scottsdale, Arizona on Sunday. Molly Lillard’s death has reverberated around the country, with support flooding in from all corners.