Dallas, TX -- July 12, 2002 -- Melvin Clemons was specific about what he wanted to do - attend a Christian college and play in the NBA - but the 17-year-old basketball standout died Thursday night from a gunshot he suffered Tuesday while driving to a friend's house.
Police continued their search Friday for a red 1988 Chevrolet Blazer with a brown stripe along the vehicle's passenger side. Officers said witnesses saw someone in the Blazer fire several shots at Clemons' 1995 Blazer as the sport utility vehicles traveled north on Westmoreland Road.
Investigators said they are not sure whether Clemons knew his attackers or whether it was a road rage incident.
Clemons, who graduated this year from Thomas Jefferson High School, spent two days in a coma at Methodist Medical Center where he died shortly before 9 p.m. Thursday
Relatives, friends and coaches had kept a bedside vigil.
Former coach Vincent Stephenson said Clemons was good enough to play Division I college basketball. Clemons, however, accepted a scholarship from Central Christian College in Kansas.
Stephenson, basketball coach at W.T. White High School, said he coached Clemons for three years before the youth transferred to Thomas Jefferson in his senior year.
But Stephenson continued to follow Clemons' accomplishments, including the player's advancement to the all-District 11-4A team this year.
"I'll tell you this, he was one of the top guards in the city - the most pure shooter on the court, and a real three-point threat," Stephenson said. "He was a leader - not a vocal leader - but on the court he lead by example.
"He played hard and practiced hard."
The coach, who also teaches algebra, said Clemons was a "class clown" but was never disrespectful.
Ruth Wilson, principal at Thomas Jefferson, said she remembered Clemons as a student at T.C. Marsh Middle School where she also was a principal. She said that when his parents moved to another community, they let him stay in Dallas so that he could graduate with friends.
"For me, he was very enjoyable," she said. "This year DISD had a new dress code, and the kids obviously didn't like that, but I called him in and I said `Now, Melvin, you're one of my leaders and I need your belt on and your shirt tucked in. And he said OK.
"The kids really looked up to him."
His mother, Lasandra Clemons, said Friday that her son's lifelong goal was to play professional basketball, but that he was also intent on getting a Christian education.
His mother said he sang in the church choir but also liked rap music and taped several performances with friends.
"He was a very friendly people's person," she said. "He knew no strangers. He just loved to play and have fun, and he was always loved to eat and be with his family.
"We were very proud of him."