The Menifee community is in mourning after a beloved basketball coach and father was fatally shot in front of his home over the weekend.
Deputies responded to a shooting call in the 29000 block of Light Sails Court shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday and found a man suffering from gunshot wounds in the driveway, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Mike Vasquez said on the night of the incident.
The victim was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Vasquez said.
Authorities have not named the victim, but he was identified as Claudell Walter by friends and family members.
“It’s been like a nightmare. They stole my kids’ father,” Claudell’s wife, Melissa, said. “My husband. Father-in-law’s son. A brother, best friend, a coach. They took him from lots of people.”
“No father should have to bury their kid,” Claudell’s dad, Garland, said. “I raised him right. Sent him to college, get a good degree, be a good father, a good man, and they took him for no reason at all.”
“Coach Claudell was coming home from a typical Saturday competing with his team, when a gunman ran up and shot him before he got out of his car,” a Facebook post on DTermined Basketball read.
DTermined Basketball was a program Claudell helped launch, to help young people succeed on and off the court.
Walter was described as a passionate basketball coach and a father of two. “A great man, father, husband, brother, son, uncle, cousin, friend and Coach!”
Claudell’s brother-in-law, Dashaun Thomas, said he was an honest, caring person.
“Claudell’s the kind of person that if he runs a red light, he’s gonna pay the ticket before the send it to him. So we just can’t wrap our brains around a individual who would have that in their heart to pull the trigger on a man that stood for so much. It’s just hard,” Dashaun said.
The Facebook post went on to explain how much Walter’s work was appreciated.
“Claudell, you will be missed, and we thank you for all of your hard work and dedication you displayed over the years,” the post read.
It’s a sentiment echoed by one of the student athletes he coached.
“I couldn’t believe it when I heard about it,” one young man said. “He taught me everything. When I was 7 years old, he taught me how to shoot the ball. How to dribble. He was always there.”
Investigators have not released a suspect description or a possible motive for the shooting.
“All he wanted to do was give back, for younger kids,” Garland said. “And I just ask that if you know anything, please let us know.”
KTLA’s Jennifer Thang contributed to this report.