Molly Lillard died after being shot last month in a murder-suicide, which happened at her home in Scottsdale, Arizona while her 8-month-old baby was there.
The daughter of New York Jets legend Al Toon was shot on April 11, 2021, at some time before 5 p.m., according to police reports.
It is being treated as a murder-suicide after her husband, Royce Lillard III, 36, was also found dead later the same day.
Police initially arrived to find Royce Lillard barricading himself into the family home but later shot himself dead and was found by a SWAT team who gained entry to the property at 10:45 p.m. following a stand-off.
Molly Lillard, 28, was found outside of the home with gunshot wounds and was transported to the hospital, where she later passed away as a result of sustained injuries.
According to police, the couple’s 8-month-old child was present when the shootings happened but thankfully was not injured.
The baby is now in the care of family members. Royce and Molly Lillard had been married for two years. Police have not revealed what they think the motive is behind the killings.
Following in the athletic footsteps of her father, Al Toon, Molly Lillard was described as an exceptional volleyball player while at high school in Wisconsin — from which she graduated in 2010 — and at university in Michigan afterward.
In further recognition of her sports ability, the Volleyball Coaches Association awarded her an honorable mention in 2013.
Moreover, she was a real inspiration for young Black athletes. Volleyball used to be predominately white. Krystalyn Goode, who played for the University of Michigan and saw Molly Toon as an inspiration, said: “Seeing players like Molly come before you shows that you can do it and that you belong.”
She continued: “Representation is so important. For decades, volleyball has been a predominantly white sport. We don’t know them all by name, but I am certain Molly inspired some little girls of color to give volleyball a try. Even if it was just one, that matters.”
During her time in Michigan, her former teammates remember her as someone who was always there for her friends.
Decades before her, Al Toon — now 58 years old — had set records playing football at the University of Wisconsin and later finding fame in the National Football League with the New York Jets.
He played with the team for eight seasons, including making it into the Pro Bowl three times.