CLEVELAND -- Family, friends and young players gathered Wednesday night to remember a youth football coach.
Deon Taylor, 35, of Euclid was killed early Saturday morning during an altercation at a Cleveland gas station.
"You took my son, a father, a brother and a friend for a lot of people," said Deon’s mother, Diane Taylor.
"Why did you do that to my daddy? 'Cause my dad didn't have anything to do with you. He was a great father, a great coach, a great sports player and everything and I just want my dad to come back," said the victim’s 10-year-old daughter, Giavanni Miller.
Taylor was a coach for the East Cleveland Chiefs football team. A candlelight vigil was held in his honor Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. at Forest Hills Park. That is where the team often trained and practiced.
“Coach Deon was hard on me and sometimes would not let me play, but I learned how to cope with his kind and tough love. And, it made me a better football player,” said 9-year-old player Arthur McKoy, through a written news release from Black on Black Crime, Inc.
"He came back to coach these kids in this town and he did it with passion and love in his eyes," said Rick Wilcox, executive director of the East Cleveland Police Athletic League. Eleven-year-old player Osborne Gardner added, "Every time I would get hurt on the field, he would be like, 'get back on the field.' I miss that voice that he would say; I would hear it all the time in my ear."
Taylor was shot to death just after 3:00 a.m. Saturday at the Marathon gas station at 1201 East 185th Street in Cleveland. Investigators say when Taylor walked into the store, a man began punching his friend outside. Taylor reportedly came outside to intervene and another man shot him at point blank range and ran off.
Cleveland police say surveillance video showed the gunman get out of the passenger side of an Audi A6 that was parked at a gas pump, show a gun and shoot Taylor. The suspect then ran northbound on East 185th Street. The video then showed the suspect who started the fight jump back into the Audi and drive off in the same direction as the other suspect.
Taylor was taken to University Hospitals where he later died.
Cleveland police are still looking for the suspects.