Beloved basketball coach gunned down outside his Menifee home

MENIFEE, Calif. (KABC) -- The Riverside County Sheriff's Department is investigating the murder of a beloved basketball coach who was shot and killed in front of his young son while parking at his home in Menifee.

Claudell Walter was shot on June 1 as he exited his truck where his 13-year-old son, who was not harmed, was seated. The 38-year-old father of two was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

"He was a big gentle giant, non-confrontational. He was just about his kids, his family and helping people achieve their goals," said DaShaun Thomas, the victim's brother-in-law.

Walter is being remembered for his work with children and basketball. He and Thomas are the co-founder of DTermined Athletics in Corona, which helps to coach aspiring young athletes.

"What I would want to say to the killer is, I don't know what his motives were, but he damaged a generation of kids, as well. Not just Claudell's kids - but hundreds, thousands of kids," Thomas said.

Thomas said Walter spent Saturday afternoon and evening coaching his basketball team at games in Orange County. He returned home in the 29000 block of Light Sails Court about 9:50 p.m. when he was gunned down.

A memorial of flowers and candles had been placed outside the coach's home.

"I don't even think as a family that we've had a chance to grieve as we would, like because there is so much energy as to why? Why would this happen to him?" Thomas said.

Neighbors who did not want to be identified have expressed their shock, and said the married father was often spotted playing basketball with his children in the driveway.

The sheriff's department said its homicide unit is seeking information about the murder. Anyone with information is urged to contact (951) 210-1000 or (951) 955-2777.
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