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Honoring Artie

A large crowd turned out for a candlelight vigil in Parlier to remember Artie Gomez, a beloved coach who was murdered.
Hundreds of people illuminated the stands inside panther stadium to honor the life of 39-year old Artie Gomez.  The majority showed off their school pride dressed in blue and gold shirts dedicated to Artie.

"It's very inspiring to see the community come out in support and it just shows how much everybody loved him," said Diana Gomez, a cousin of the victim.
     
Artie was a religious man, a loving husband, father and youth football coach who leaves a remarkable impression in his hometown of Parlier.
     
One of his former players recalled his postive attitude.

"We weren't a great team, but he believed in us and when he believed in us, we believed we were a great team," said Saul Gomez, a former player of Coach Gomez.
     
Chris Barela will always remember a few of Artie's words of wisdom.

"Be the best you can be and leave it all on the field," said Chris Barela,  a former player of Coach Gomez.

It was last Friday that police say Gomez got into a dispute with his next door neighbor, Joel Valera.  Things got out of hand and ended with gomez being shot to death.  The 37-year old Valera was arrested and is being charged with murder.

The tragedy leaves friends puzzled because they say artie was such a happy, caring person.

"He always wanted to do better for the community and get the kids off the streets.  Always willing to help you, always," said James Rodriguez, a friend of the victim.

Artie Gomez is survived by his wife and six children who range in age from 17 down to 18 months old.
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