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Vigil to be held Thursday for slain youth football coach

Members of Buffalo's youth football community and beyond will gather this week to honor Norzell Aldridge.

A vigil at 7 p.m. Thursday is being organized to take place on the field where he coached, which is not far from where he was killed.

Aldridge, 36, was shot Saturday evening while trying to defuse a dispute between two teenagers not related to a youth football game he had just completed coaching, several people who knew Aldridge told The Buffalo News.

Aldridge was one of two men who were shot at the corner of Koons Avenue and Sycamore Street shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday. Aldridge died later at Erie County Medical Center.

A group of supporters of the Beast Elite Ducks, the team of 9- and 10-year-olds that Aldridge coached, is expected to meet at Emerson Park at 7 p.m. Thursday. Emerson Park is behind Harvey Austin Elementary School, which is at Koons and Sycamore.

Following the team's first game of the season Saturday, Aldridge and other coaches were cleaning up as most of the players and parents had left the field. According to a parent who was at the football field, Aldridge noticed an altercation in the distance, at Sycamore and Koons, between two teenagers, and he went over hoping to intervene.

He was shot. Aldridge’s cousin, who was at the game, rushed the wounded Aldridge to the hospital in a car, according to Dwayne Warren, a friend of Aldridge.

There was a Buffalo Police Department detail at the Beast Elite Ducks' game, and the officers were at the Emerson Park field when the shooting took place, according to BPD spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge. The officers rushed to the scene when they heard the gunshot, and called in for backup, but were not able to locate a suspect, he said.

Police are routinely detailed to youth football games because of problems that have occurred at some of them in the past, DeGeorge said.

 

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