Witness identifies gunman who killed high school basketball star, police say

Malcolm Nicholas III, 18, shot while walking to father's home in Miami

MIAMI – A witness has identified the gunman who killed a high school basketball star, leading to the arrest of Xavier Braggs, 18, of Miami, authorities said.

According to an arrest report, Braggs was arrested Friday on a second-degree murder charge after a witness identified him in a photo lineup as the person who fatally shot Malcolm Nicholas III, 18, last November.

Police said Nicholas was shot Nov. 12 in the 1700 block of Northwest Fifth Avenue in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood as he was walking to his father's home.

Family members said Nicholas was attending school in Tennessee and was in town for a family party and to celebrate Thanksgiving when he was killed. The teenager previously attended Miami Senior High School and Mater and Believe Prep academies. 

A motive for the shooting has not been released, and relatives say they believe Nicholas wasn’t the intended target. 

"(It was a case of) mistaken identity," Nicholas' cousin, Devondre Hopkins, said. "He doesn't do anything. He plays basketball. He came down from school to go to one of his family member's party."

Relatives said Nicholas had offers to play for the Eastern Michigan Eagles and the IUPUI Jaguars.

As for Braggs, the young man had multiple previous arrests in South Florida, dating back to when he was 14. Braggs was on probation around the time of the shooting for an attempted armed robbery.

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