WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Money is being raised to help the family of a former White Plains star basketball player who was gunned down in Vermont earlier this month.
As of Sunday night, the GoFundMe page for Markus D’Anthony Austin had raised $20,781 of its initial $25,000 goal.
Austin, 33, was working as a mental health specialist at the Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital in the tiny town of Berlin when he was slain outside his Montpelier apartment.
He left behind his girlfriend, Caryn Pletzer, and their son, Marquis Austin.
According to his obituary, the 2001 White Plains High School grad played forward on his varsity team, leading it to victory in 1999 in the state championships.
He was White Plains’ “All-time leading scorer,” the obituary said.
During the summers, he played in tournaments overseas in Manchester, England. He also participated in a basketball camp run by former Knicks player Charlie Ward in Pennsylvania.
During his junior and seniors years in high school, he received both the All County and MVP awards.
He received a Division 1 scholarship to play with the Eagles at Eastern Michigan University and was an Eagles 1,000 point scorer. He also worked for the MVP Basketball Camp in White Plains and played professionally in the former American Basketball Association league for the Vermont "Frost Heaves.”
Vermont state police said they are searching for Jayveon Cabalero, 29, of Barre, on suspicion of second-degree murder in connection with the shooting.
According to police, Caballero and Austin were acquainted and that the two had gotten into a fight earlier outside Gustos Bar on Prospect Street in Barre. Police said Caballero subsequently confronted Austin outside 191 Barre St. in Montpelier.
Heartbroken hospital colleagues of Austin’s set up the GoFundMe page. In it they call him “one of the kindest individuals” many of them “had ever had the pleasure of knowing.”
“Our hearts are even heavier still for Markus's family,” the post read.
“Apart from being a dedicated coworker, he was more importantly a dedicated father. He talked about his son often, and with pride.”
Austin was predeceased by his father, Mark Austin; grandparents Harry and Blondzetta Austin; grandfather Hank Harlen; aunt Celeste Austin, and uncle, Robert Sturdivent.
Austin is survived by his mother, Danita Sturdivent; brother, Devon Austin; stepfather, Michael Hayes; son Marquis; girlfriend Caryn Pletzer; grandmother Theresa Sturdivent, and many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by McMahon, Lyon & Hartnett, 491 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains.
Visiting hours will be 9-11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1 at Union Baptist Church, 31 Manhattan Ave., White Plains. A service will be conducted at 11 a.m. at the church.