Parlier youth football team mourns slain coach

A Parlier youth football team is reeling after authorities say the head coach was shot and killed by his next-door neighbor.
March 8, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
A Parlier youth football team is reeling after Fresno County Sheriff's deputies said the head coach was shot and killed by his next-door neighbor. Detectives are now working to find out what led to the fatal shooting.

The violence happened at a home near the intersection of South A Avenue and Seventh Street in Parlier on Friday afternoon. Investigators haven't released the name of the neighbor who they said shot and killed Artie Gomez, but one of Gomez's family members told Action News that the suspect moved next door about three months ago.

On Saturday evening, people who knew Gomez said they'll keep his memories alive by being positive and kind to one another. Artie Gomez was a welder by trade, but his real passion was always cheering on the Raiders and coaching his hometown youth football league.

"He loved the game, he loved the kids, he loved the community," said James Rodriguez, with the Parlier Panther Youth Football team.

Players said no one can replace their head coach. They're still shocked anyone would point a gun and kill such a respected man.

"I called him coach Artie. He was like my other dad because his football team was a family," said Michael Coanelo, a player on the football team.

"He was a helpful guy. He always tried to help out the team, help out everyone," said Robert Lopez, a football player. "If someone couldn't pay for it, he'll pay for them. The only thing he asked for is just get good grades and do good in school."

Deputies said Gomez was shot in front of family members. He was taken to Community Regional Medical Center, where he later died.

"It's just a big tragedy. I mean he is leaving his kids behind, and now they are going to struggle," said Rodriguez.

Deputies arrested the suspect soon after the shooting.

Family members said Gomez was 39 years old. He left behind a wife, six children and two foster kids.


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