Vigil held for ex-athlete and father killed by party crasher in Fresno County

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The loss of 20-year-old Lee Major is weighing heavy on Phillip Martin's shoulders.

"He was loved by everyone. He was one of those guys that once you met him, you wanted him to be your friend," says Martin.

Lee Major was shot and killed the morning of December 15.

RELATED: Sanger man arrested for murder of 20-year-old man at Fowler house party

Major was at a house party in Fowler when uninvited guest Joseph Ornelas of Sanger allegedly started getting aggressive with others.

As Major attempted to remove him, detectives say Ornelas pulled out a gun and opened fire.

Major and three others were struck. Major died.

Phillip Martin started coaching Major when he was just 12 years old.

"As our player-coach relationship developed, our bond grew stronger and stronger... to where I felt like a big brother or a mentor to him," he says.

Major broke records.

"In Fowler he holds the record until this day for touchdowns. He has 42 touchdowns in pop warner football, I don't think that will ever get broken here," Martin says.

Martin says Major was supposed to start a new job as an assistant coach at John Sutter Middle School. His start date was the Monday after the shooting.

Martin says the loss has been hard for everyone. Knowing he left behind a 7-month-old son, Noah, makes everything even more difficult.

"Now the little boy is going to have to go this year without Christmas and many years, the rest of his life without spending Christmas with his dad," says Martin.

Ornelas is currently being held at the Fresno County Jail.

He faces charges of murder and attempted murder.

His bail is set at $6 million.
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