An eruption of gun violence outside a University City nightclub on Wednesday night claimed the life of Preston Freeman, a 20-year-old boxer whose coaches say had a very bright future ahead of him.
"He was the most talented kid we had in the gym," Jimmie Howell, head coach of the North County Athletic Association, tells Daily RFT this morning. "We really expected him to go big in the pros.... We never thought he would get caught up in something like this. It really hurts."
Police say that the young boxer died after a single bullet struck him in the chest just before midnight on Wednesday outside Club Escalade on Olive Boulevard.
His family and coaches are devastated, Howell says.
"He was a very, very talented young man. He was just an extremely athletic person, very nice kid, soft-spoken, easy-going -- everybody in the gym liked him," says Howell, who notes that Freeman came to his amateur boxing club when he was just 14 years old. "Really just a prince of a kid. You just could not believe he would be involved in this."
The Post-Dispatch says that he grew up in the St. Louis metro area and had been living and training with a family in Salinas, California since last year.
He recently went pro and won his first three fights, Howell tells us. "Just horrible, such a waste of life."
Freeman, it seems, was scheduled to fight tonight. Sam Garcia, one of his trainers in California, sent out these tweets:
Thanks for all the love for @teamprestofrom the boxing world he was a great kid he really was the true Preston was a loving kid.— Sam Garcia (@SamGarciaBoxing) March 8, 2013
@teampresto I love you bro. I'm sorry so sorry.— Sam Garcia (@SamGarciaBoxing) March 7, 2013
Continue for more of our interview with Jimmie Howell and for more photos.
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