DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Stefan McLean is coping with the loss of one of his players, Z’yon Person.
The nine-year-old was shot and killed Sunday night while out with his family in Durham. No arrests have been made.
For McLean, Person was a hard worker, always encouraging teammates.
“It’s been a rough week for everybody,” McLean said. “We lost a good one. It’s been really hard. I don’t know if it’s something I can ever get over.”
Thursday night, the Cap City Steelers Pop Warner team held their annual pep rally, honoring Z’yon with posters, signs and balloons, all while supporting his family.
“For something like this to happen to a kid that young, man it’s ridiculous,” Cap City Steelers Football Commissioner Ed Jones said.
Those who knew him on the field said Z’yon always had their back.
“I didn’t really understand why he had to die at such a young age,” Z’yon’s teammate LJ Foulke said. “He had his whole life ahead of him, probably being a leader.”
Z’yon’s cousin, Deja Nocentelli, said the support for their family has been overwhelming.
“Z’yon was the coolest kid you would ever run across,” Nocentelli said. “We’ve been trying to get through it as best as we can together, keeping us close to each other.”
For Cap City, they believe one Steeler will always be with them.
“When we play our game on Saturday, he’s going to be looking down on us, and hope that we have a good game and win the game,” Foulke said.
Cap City’s commissioner said they’ll dedicate this season to Z’yon. McLean told CBS 17 the team will also be wearing helmet stickers with Z’yon’s initials on them.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Z’yon’s family.
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