Friends gather in Taft to honor young shooting victim

Basketball Clinic held at recreational center

TAFT, Calif. -  

Many people in Taft are showing support for the victim in this week's high school shooting.  It's just one of several events planned to help family and classmates heal from this tragic incident.

 

Friends are honoring the young shooting victim with the game that's become so dear to their hearts.  

 

It's a place many people in Taft are coming to heal and it's the spot one of the victims of the Taft High School shooting spent most of his time. 

 

"He’s a great kid. He's on the morning announcements and we just love watching him on the bulletin each morning. He's got a great sense of humor and he's worth supporting like any young man is," said Harold Heiter.

 

Leaders with the Westside Recreational center say the teen is an avid basketball player and has been coaching sixth and 7th graders for quite some time.  They say many in the community are still shocked over the high school shooting.

 

"It was just a situation where the kids were frightened.  My students were frightened, we just help try to support one another because everybody was so scared and it was one of those things.  We just all feel like we need to hang together until he gets back and it makes us a little stronger," he said.

 

Steven Gee is a friend of the victim and also plays basketball regularly with him.

 

"He's a good guy. He's always funny.  Fun to be around," said Gee.

 

Gee was in the very same room when the alleged shooter walked in.  It's an image many in this small community are trying to forget.

 

"It's tough right now.  I think we have a lot of strong people in Taft to help us to be able to move on," he said.

 

Besides basketball, people are also writing personal messages and signing posters for the victim. 

 

"I don't think he should have gotten hurt because he didn't do anything," said Alohra Cloud, a basketball player.

 

Organizers say the basketball clinic is just one way the community can come together to show support for a person loved by so many.

 

"If we can do things that he liked...in a way it kind of helps feel a little closer to him and helps with our recovery process too," said Heiter.

 

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