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Teen shooting victim was preparing for varsity soccer at SJM, now in critical care


Friends and classmates are sending their prayers to Nick Kauls. Coaches say he’s a promising athlete who was preparing to join the varsity soccer team. Now his life is in danger.

Fresno County deputies say 17-year-old Nick Kauls ran for his life as gun fire chased him and a friend he had come to visit in the Fig Garden area Sunday night. Suspects in an suv allegedly tried to rob the two boys. Nick’s friend escaped into a home but one of the bullets struck Nick in the head.

Related: A GoFundMe has been setup for the family of Nicolas. Click here to donate.

“He’s just a good boy. Just a really nice, well rounded child. Mom did everything for him,” said Valerie Lopes.

Just a few years ago Nick ran for his love of track, coached by Lopes of the Valley Vipers Club.

“He was coachable. His mom was thrilled about his progress. He ran hard. He worked hard,” said Lopes.

That work ethic showed on the soccer field as well. After two years of JV, coaches say Nick was ready to contribute to the Varsity squad.

“He’s just a fantastic kid. He’s every coach’s dream. He comes out every day. He works hard, willing to do whatever it takes,” said Randy Prescott, Varsity Soccer Head Coach at San Joaquin Memorial High School.

Nick is now in critical care at CRMC. Prescott says a shooting in this serene northwest Fresno neighborhood sends an alarming message.

“And I always tell my kids, you just gotta be careful. Be safe. Especially on a weekend, just be safe and be smart,” said Prescott.

Deputies say the suspects drove off on East Rialto Avenue. Detectives don’t have a clear description of the car. Meanwhile, those that know Nick Kauls say they can’t believe his life hangs in the balance.

“I have no words because it’s a shock and I really wish the best for him. I pray he pulls through,” said Lopes.

Tuesday night a prayer will be held at San Joaquin Memorial’s main gym. The community is welcome to join.

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