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Eisenhower High basketball coach shot during attempted robbery

January 22, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The boys basketball coach at Eisenhower High School in Rialto is recovering after being shot during an attempted robbery.

Police said 47-year-old Steve Johnson was driving when he pulled into Seccombe Lake Park at 500 N. Sierra Way in San Bernardino before 8 p.m. to use the restroom.

Johnson said he was confronted by three men demanding his wallet. He told police one of the suspects shot him several times in the chest. The wallet was left behind.

Johnson was able to drive himself to the police station for help. He was taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he was listed in fair condition.

Police said they had little information on the suspects. Johnson was unable to provide a detailed description.

People who know the popular and awarding-winning coach are shocked and saddened by the news.

"We can band, we're not going to break, we are going to stay strong for the coach and for our students and we are with the Johnson family right now," said Syeda Jafri of the Rialto Unified School District.

The Los Angeles Times named Johnson coach of the year in 2009 after leading the Eagles to the state championships. Eisenhower High students said they are hopeful their coach will be back on the basketball court soon.

The team, however, continued to play on. They had a match Tuesday night and were coached by an assistant coach.

Vinny Fazio, the school's football coach, said the players dedicated the game to Johson.

"He coaches hard and he hold kids accountable, but he really cares about kids and I think that's what sets him apart," Fazio said.

Students described Johnson as a mild-mannered man off the court, but a passionate and fearless leader on the court.

"A very, very good guy, very strict, serious about his game. A lovable guy, too," said student Kimmie Daniels.


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