LANSING — Marquise Manns Jr. knew from a young age what he wanted in life.
The 30-year-old semi-professional footballer wanted to work, succeed, and then go home to his family, said Jasmine Glasscoe, who has been friends with Manns since high school.
“His family was his first priority,” Glasscoe said. “There aren’t many men like that.”
Manns was killed just before 4 a.m. on July 3 in the 1200 block of Shepard Street after being hit by a vehicle. Police say they believe he was intentionally hit before the driver fled the scene, according to a news release.
Reports from witnesses suggest Manns, the driver of the vehicle and several other people were involved in an argument before being fatally beaten, police said.
Police used dogs to track the man accused of driving the vehicle that hit Manns and found him a “short distance” from the crash site.
Andrew Coleman, 32, was later charged with murder in connection with Manns’ death.
Glasscoe said the night Manns died he was defending someone. She loves him for it, but she’s also angry, she says.
“You’re always trying to save someone, but no one was there to save you that night,” Glasscoe said. “Anywhere on something so small.”
The last time Manns texted her, he told her he loved her and missed her.
“I still hear those words because I know he meant it,” Glasscoe said. “He wants to be there for you every day. This man loves who he loves and he holds them tight.”
The day after Manns died, Glasscoe went to Shepard Street to speak to her friend. She felt his blessing and felt him tell her that everything would be fine.
Manns adored her 3-year-old daughter, Morgan, and was close to her mother, Glasscoe said.
Glasscoe said she knew she would be there to help care for Manns’ daughter and mother. He would have done the same if she had died first, she said.
“Our Lansing Crusaders family want to take the time to send condolences and prayers to our brother who lost his life this morning #5 Qb Django Marquise manns we will miss you brother you always made us laugh had a great spirit prayers for his family,” the team posted on Facebook.
LaVelle Watts, Manns’ cousin, says she remembers her cousin being vibrant, hyper and full of life. He was always respectful, especially to older family members.
Watts said Manns was a great father and a family-oriented man.
“He was definitely a ray of sunshine. He was a very positive and upbeat person,” Watts said. “He made his mother proud. … I’m glad he got to leave his legacy with Morgan.
She said she was sad because she believes two men lost their futures on July 3, Manns because he was killed and Coleman for his alleged role in the accident.
Manns’ family created a fundraising page for funeral arrangements and to support Morgan.
“I hope that the dynamic person that he was can be an example for others,” Watts said. “No matter what life throws at us, always find a smile, a friendship within yourself.”