Loved ones try to carry on legacy of coach killed driving kids home from practice

Loved ones try to carry on legacy of coach killed driving kids home from practice

WESTWEGO, LA (WVUE) - Family and friends are mourning the loss of a coach shot and killed outside his Bridge City home earlier this week.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office says it happened Thursday just after 8:30 p.m. in the 900 block of Patton Street.

"We just didn't think he'd be someone that we would lose, you know? Not him," Westwego Recreation Department Director Tiffany Jones-Joseph said.

34-year-old Jamal Lewis, or  "Coach Jazz" as loved ones knew him, was shot and killed Thursday night.

A close friend of Lewis says he was on the phone with him minutes before the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office says he was shot multiple times.

"I told him I was going to call him right back because I had something I was doing for work, and like I said, three minutes later, my son was FaceTiming me letting me know what had happened and showed me my friend on the ground," Jory Jenkins said.

Lewis died after being taken to a local hospital.

Jones-Joseph says she was at a meeting with him just moments before the shooting.

"The meeting may have finished about 8:30, 8:30-ish. They had a couple of kids left. Those kids usually ride with him back and forth, and he put all those kids in the car, and honestly, everybody left. I clocked out about 8:49. Our clock is about two to three minutes fast, so by the time I got maybe five minutes away, I received a phone call saying he was shot," Jones-Joseph said.

Lewis spent much of his time at Westwego Park, where he coached and mentored kids. Friends and colleagues say he was an inspiration to those who knew him.

"We won't ever be able to fill what he did out here. It was more than just his kids. He had a feeling towards every kid that he touched, and he's going to always be remembered," Jenkins said.

"He just spoke so much confidence into everybody. Regardless of whether it was an adult with a job coming up, you're going to get it, you got it. I promise you, what you need, I'll help you. That's just the type of guy he was," Jones-Joseph said.

Now, his colleagues are doing their best to honor his legacy.

"We have to find a way to continue to help everybody that he helped, and I think that's the biggest obstacle that we have at this point," Jones-Joseph said

"Empty. Somebody that you spoke to every day, see every day, it's not going to happen no more. Not going to see him no more, not going to be able to talk to him. All I can do is just try to fill his shoes," Jenkins said.

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