Coaches and teammates at Lakewood High School are grieving the loss of one of their football players.
Police say 17-year-old Khalil Saleem was killed in a drive-by shooting in Long Beach on Saturday.
Saleem’s teammates and his coaches are shocked by this sudden loss.
His coach told NBC4 that everyone from students to staff wanted to be around Saleem and thy never though an afternoon game of basketball at the park would lead to his death.
Justin Utupo is the head football coach at Lakewood High School and he says it is still hard to believe his athlete was killed in an act of gun violence.
“Any one of our youths should be able to be at the park and play basketball and be safe,” Utupo said.
Long Beach police say Saleem was playing basketball wit his friends at Silverado Park when two unknown suspects began shooting at them.
Saleem and two other victims were transported to the hospital before the 17-year-old died.
Candles are still burning on the courts where it all happened, while passerby’s and skaters come to pay their respects.
Saleem transferred to Lakewood High School in his sophomore year and was focusing on making up credits for graduation.
Even though he couldn’t compete last season Utupo said that never stopped him from supporting the team.
Saleem was a defensive back and had big aspirations tp play college football.
sadly Utupo says he will never get to see what he was truly capable of but now he says the team will mourn his loss and carry on his memory.
Saleem’s family has set up an online fundraiser to help them with funeral expenses.
As for the investigation, Long Beach police are investigating this shooting as the suspects are still at large and they still say a motive also remains unknown.
Source: NBC Los Angeles