Promising Life Cut Short

October 11, 2008 12:15:37 AM PDT
Hundreds attending a scholarship banquet in Merced took a moment of silence to honor one scholarship recipient who was killed this week. Michael Riley, a 29 year old Merced College student was shot and killed while walking down a Merced street on Tuesday. Merced Police still don't know why he was shot, or who did it. On Friday Merced Police Lt. Bimley West said: "At this present time we cannot link our victim with any criminal activity such as gang affiliation. It's just a tragedy, a young man 29 years old met his demise in our city, and it's just a tragedy."

Michael Riley was expected to be at the scholarship banquet, held at St. Patrick's Parish Hall. A straight-A student He had won a scholarship to continue his education at a four year university. The scholarship was provided by Charles Fennessy and his wife Sylvia. "He was going to be here tonight as our guest also, and we're here all alone." Charles Fennessy said.

The Fennessy's have been awarding scholarships to veterans for the past 20 years. Riley qualified because of his military service. He served six years in the Navy. "He served his country in the Navy, and was doing outstanding at the school, put in a great letter of application for the scholarship and was very deserving." Fennessy said.

"The scholarship money that was going to be given to Michael Riley, will likely be going to another student.

Riley grew up in Merced. He returned after his stint in the Navy, to attend Merced College. He was planning to use the scholarship money to attend California State University Stanislaus, and was planning to major in Political Science.

Merced Police say they are continuing to gather evidence in Riley's death.

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