About 500 hundreds mourners gathered Saturday for the funeral of Victor McClinton, a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department employee and beloved coach who was the unintended victim of a Christmas day shooting.
Danny Bakewell, Jr. delivered McClinton’s eulogy during a Catholic service. The two men became best friends in elementary school and Bakewell was godfather of McClinton's two children.
Bakewell spoke of the 49-year-old McClinton like most people who knew him did: In sports metaphors.
There was the pregame, which according to Bakewell was McClinton's tumultuous childhood. McClinton was placed in foster care then raised by his grandmother in the Watts projects, he said. "But the actual game, he was fully involved in and fully part of. And he was determined to make a difference."
McClinton made that difference by founding the Brotherhood Community Youth Sports League in Pasadena. Bakewell estimates McClinton had an impact on more than 20,000 kids over the past 20 years.
One of them is Brandon Brooks, a pall bearer at McClinton’s funeral. Standing just a few feet from the hearse that would take McClinton to his final resting place at the Inglewood cemetary, Brooks recounted how McClinton would drive out of his way, from Pasadena to Inglewood, at 7:00 a.m. to get the star basketball player to games by 8:00 a.m.
"That, right there, shows you how committed he was to his kids and his teams," said Brooks.
McClinton worked for the Los Angeles County’s sheriff’s department as a technician for 18 years. Sheriff Lee Baca also spoke at the service. He promised everyone in attendance “justice would be found in the courts.”
Two suspected gang members have been arrested in connection with McClinton’s
murder. Prosecutors could seek the death penalty.