Chicopee, Mass. (WWLP) - 16-year-old Kevin Gomez was a promising student athlete at Chicopee Comprehensive High School and Monday those who knew him struggled to come to grips with the tragedy.
Principal Derek Morrison told 22News, "It's been a very busy day at Chicopee Comp and for all the wrong reasons."
Gomez's young life ended Sunday. He was shot to death after a sweet 16 birthday party on Belmont Avenue in Springfield.
Conchita Olmo, who lives in the area, said, "He was so young and it's no good for people to die like that, you know, he was just a baby."
Gomez played on both the freshman football and basketball teams.
His coaches said he was well liked and made a big impression as a freshman.
Marc Schuerfeld, the head football coach, said, "He had a fantastic personality he had a great smile and he was very quick to give that smile on a daily basis and we're going to miss him a lot."
In a tragic coincidence, Gomez died a year to the day another promising student athlete, Conor Reynolds, was murdered.
"I just think this was completely tragic, in both cases, Conor and Kevin. It's just way, way, way too often that we're dealing with things like this," said Morrison.
Those at Chicopee Comp. hope to memorialize Gomez not as a murder statistic, but as a teammate and friend.
Schuerfeld said, "Kevin won't be forgotten and any player that's part of this program as long as I'm here is not going to be forgotten."