Mendota mourns 12-year-old star athlete killed in accidental shooting

The town of Mendota is grappling with the loss of a 12-year-old boy - who lost his life in an accidental shooting.

Friends and family of 12-year-old Ivan Gomez held a vigil for the young athlete, who was struck while playing with a gun at a friend's house last Sunday.

Gomez touched many lives. He was a stellar athlete, loved playing football, never got into any trouble.

That's why many of his coaches were shocked to find that he was the victim of an accidental shooting.

Deputies say he was visiting a friend's house near Firebaugh on Sunday.

Somehow, the two boys got their hands on a 25 caliber handgun.

They were playing with the gun unsupervised when it went off.

Detectives still don't know who fired the fatal shot.

Those who watched Gomez learn and grow as a young athlete were devastated - still coping with the news a week later.

"We try to tell our kids don't play with guns, don't run in the street, sometimes kids they don't want to listen, they want to do their own thing. Sometimes it takes a tragic event for it to sink in," said Daniel Gomez of Mendota Cobra Football.

They also plan on retiring his jersey - number two - as well as giving a signed football to his family.

The investigation into the accidental shooting is still going on. Detectives say the owner of that gun doesn't live on the property where the shooting happened. So they still don't know how the two children got their hands on the weapon.
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