Vigil held for slain Parlier football coach

Hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil on Friday to honor a Parlier football coach who was shot and killed.
March 14, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hundreds of people packed a Parlier football field for an emotional candlelight vigil to honor a very respected football coach who mentored hundreds of students. Arthur "Artie" Gomez, 39, coached youth football leagues in the city for years. Fresno County Sheriff's deputies say he was shot and killed by his neighbor last Friday over an argument over trash.

The pain of losing her son was so raw for Artie Gomez's mother she struggled to speak to the large crowd gathered under the Friday night lights at the Parlier Panther football field.

"It's very hard for me and my whole entire family. This community is very upset, but because of our faith it's going to get us through," said Roman Gomez, the victim's brother.

Deputies believe his next-door neighbor Joel Valera shot and killed Gomez after blaming his children for throwing trash in the yard. Valera was arrested soon after. His loss is a big blow to the Parlier Unified School District.

His players now plan to keep their coach's memory alive by striving for excellence on and off the field.

A memorial fund has been set up at Bank of the West to help the family of Arthur Gomez.

Bank account number: 033430140
Contact center: (800) 488-2265