Oregon Signee Terrance Kelly Slain
One of the nation’s best high school linebackers was shot to death two days before he was to leave his crime-ridden city for the University of Oregon on an athletic scholarship. Terrance Kelly, 18, was a star linebacker and tight end for De La Salle High School. He was shot in the driver’s seat of his car outside his brother’s home around 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Richmond Police Sgt. Enos Johnson said Friday. Police found Kelly lying in the street next to his car, shot in the chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police have yet to identify a motive or any suspects, Johnson said.
Kelly was a standout at De La Salle, a Catholic school in a middle-class suburb about 20 miles east of Kelly’s east San Francisco Bay neighborhood. He never played in a losing game in his high school career. In fact, the team boasts a 151-game winning streak. Kelly was one of four de la Salle players recruited by the University of Oregon this year and was considered one of the best defensive players in the nation.
On Friday, Kelly’s friends and relatives gathered in his neighborhood, remembering him as a role model for younger children, with his desire to excel and his plans for college. “It hurts me to see it come down to this,” said Johnny Dempsey, Kelly’s cousin. “My son used to get up and see Terrence on the TV and go ‘Daddy! There goes T.K.!”‘ Flowers and balloons were placed outside the school’s red brick chapel, where Friday afternoon, instead of practice, the football team’s players and coaches held a private memorial service. A public service will be held after school is in session. “It’s a shock,” said Justin Alumbaugh, De La Salle’ linebacker and tight end coach. “He was a young man who was doing everything right. He was an inspiration, he was admired by everybody.” Bruce Shoup, De La Salle’s president and chief executive, said Kelley was a leader who “exhibited talent, intelligence and care for others besides himself.” “He will be remembered as an excellent student, good friend and inspiration for all the boys destined to follow him through school,” Shoup said. Kelly was going to leave on Saturday for Eugene, Ore., where news of his slaying hit hard. “It’s so senseless and tragic. It’s hard to explain,” said Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti. “Certainly it’s very difficult to begin the season with this type of thing. But the most important people are Terrance’s family and friends … our prayers go to them.”