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College Football Player Accused Of Killing Teen Girl As She Slept

William Riley Gaul, 18, was arrested late Tuesday and charged with first-degree murder, authorities said.

Posted on November 23, 2016, at 7:47 p.m. ET

Knox County Sheriff / Via

A Tennessee college football player is accused of firing a gun into a 16-year-old girl's bedroom, killing her as she slept.

William Riley Gaul, 18, was arrested late Tuesday night on suspicion of first-degree murder, according to the Knox County, Tennessee Sheriff's Office. Authorities believe he shot into the bedroom of Emma Walker as she slept from outside the house.

Walker was found dead of a gunshot wound inside her room on Monday morning.

The girl's family said Gaul was her ex-boyfriend; she had tried to move on after the relationship ended, and he would not accept her wishes, Walker's aunt told the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Walker was a cheerleader at Knoxville's Central High School and hoped to one day become a nurse. On a fundraising page for her funeral expenses, she was described as a beloved daughter, sister and friend.

"Her fun, kind, sweet spirit was contagious," the page said. "Emma was a beauty inside and out."

so effortlessly beautiful 👼🏽 love you Em @Emma_walker18 R.I.P

Gaul graduated from Central High School and went on this fall to Maryville College, where he was on the football roster.

He is being held on $750,000 bond in Knox County Jail. According to the sheriff's office, he was taken into custody after being under surveillance by deputies, who believed he was preparing to destroy evidence related to Walker's death.

The day that Walker was found dead, Gaul posted a lengthy note on Twitter about how much he would miss her. He changed his profile photo to an image of her as well as his bio.

"Living everyday through Emma Walker. I love you beautiful and I know you're in a better place now."

The day of his arrest, he posted again.

"I know you know I'm dying to be there but understand I can't. I love you."

I love you Emma, I can't be around any of that yet, it's too soon. I know you know I'm dying to be there but understand I can't. I love you.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.