GRAMBLING, La. (AP) _ Grambling linebacker Valmond ``J.B.'' Brown and Tilicius ``Troy'' Irvin once were friends and football teammates at East Ascension High School.

Early Thursday, Brown was shot to death and Martin was charged with murder.

Brown was killed following a predawn fight in his south Louisiana hometown of Gonzales, according to Grambling officials and Ascension Parish authorities.

Police charged Irvin, 20, with second-degree murder in the 12:10 a.m. shooting at the Darrow Community Center. Irvin was being held in the Ascension Parish Jail on $100,000 bond.

Brown, also 20, was shot once in the head and once in the chest. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Riverview Medical Center in Gonzales.

``The initial confrontation occurred between two groups of party-goers, with Irvin and Brown taking part,'' Ascension Parish chief deputy Jeff Wiley said. ``The groups got into a fight, which was broken up. Then a minute or two later, shots were fired in the parking lot and Brown was hit.''

Brown is survived by a wife, Lynn, and two children _ Kentrell, 5, and Dominique, 3 months.

News of Brown's death sent the Grambling athletic department into mourning.

``It was a great shock to learn of this tragedy,'' Grambling coach Eddie Robinson said. ``He was the soul of our defense last year and kept us in games many times.

``It's hard to think about losing a young player this early in life. Our sympathies go out to his family and relatives.''

An impact player at strong safety and outside linebacker, Brown led the Tigers with 87 tackles and five sacks last season. He also forced six fumbles and returned one fumble for a touchdown. Brown ranked second on the team with 89 tackles in 1994.

Brown was small by outside linebacker standards at 6-foot, 205 pounds, but his No. 26 was recognizable making big plays in nearly every Grambling game.

In 1995, he was named to the All-Southwestern Athletic Conference team and was voted Grambling's outstanding player and linebacker.

``He was a very emotional leader for us,'' Grambling defensive coordinator Dennis Winston said. ``He's a guy who could turn a game around in minutes.''

Brown, recruited by Winston during his first stint as defensive coordinator in 1992-93, was not enrolled in school, but he had another season of eligibility remaining.

``This is a real personal thing with me because I recruited him and signed him,'' Winston said. ``He's like a son to me. I have the urge now to go out and recruit someone, but I'm not in the mood to recruit.''

East Ascension coach Barrett Murphy said Brown was one of the best players he ever coached.

``You just don't know what people are going to do nowadays,'' Murphy said. ``They've got to do something about people carrying all these guns. It's unbelievable. Life is so fragile.''