Man surrenders to police in ex-SRU football star's death; Friends pay tribute to victim

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SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. —

A man surrendered to police Monday for a second time, wanted in connection with the shooting death of a former college football star.

Zachary Sheridan, 25, was shot and killed on South Bouquet Street early Saturday morning. 

An arrest warrant for Isiah Smith, 22, was issued on Monday, two days after he turned himself into police and was subsequently released because there was no warrant. Smith is facing charges that include criminal homicide.

Investigators said Sheridan, of Brookline, and two other men got into a fight around 3:30 a.m. inside the Original Hot Dog Shop in Oakland. The fight spilled outside the eatery and Sheridan and his friends tried to run away when Sheridan was shot once in the back, according to police. He was pronounced dead at 3:45 a.m. at UPMC Presbyterian.

Smith’s attorney, Blaine Jones, said, “Isiah did not initiate any of the physical contact in this situation. In fact, Isiah was getting beaten up, and he defended himself.”

According to the criminal complaint, Smith told police he shot his gun and “let one off into the air.”

Just hours after the arrest, friend and co-workers gathered at Ginger Hill Tavern in Slippery Rock to remember Sheridan and raise money to help pay for his funeral costs.

Friends said Sheridan worked at the tavern as a security guard for two years while attending school.

“He was kind of like family and close friend of everybody, not only from the university but also has touched our hearts as employees as well,” said Brittni Wonderling, manager of Ginger Hill Tavern.

Wonderling said employees came up with the idea to donate a portion of all sales Monday night to Sheridan’s family. The servers and bartenders also donated all of their tips.

“The Slippery Rock community is great. Everyone helps each other and you always have that support behind you,” said waitress Molly Principe.

Ginger Hill Tavern manager Matt Kovacik said many customers, including those who didn’t know Sheridan, made an extra donation to help his family.  

“I'm a father and I feel for his family so I felt that I should donate,” Michael Cratty said.

Sheridan started for the Slippery Rock football team from 2009 to 2011. His funeral is scheduled for Wednesday.