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Slaying of Fairfax High basketball coach a tragedy for family and for his team

August 8, 2010 | 11:17 am

Tribute

They stood on the South-Central pavement, filled with confusion and terror.

On the ground in front of them they saw their brother, Eddy Hernandez, killed by a single gunshot. Blood covered the concrete. Squad car lights flickered. Caution tape swayed in the wind.

But the Hernandez family heard almost nothing at all.

Eddy Hernandez, 30, and four of his five siblings were born deaf or hard of hearing. His brothers and sisters who gathered on the 3700 block of Main Street could only gaze as his body was examined and carried into the January night.

He died last Jan. 26, about two miles from the small apartment he shared with his father, siblings and nieces and nephews.

He was often the one at the center of the family's world, always telling jokes or offering advice. They all watched as he coached Fairfax High School's team of deaf basketball players. They admired his ability to motivate others.

But they also saw him fall into the deepest lulls. He had separated from the mother of his daughter and had troubles with the law. For years he had suffered bouts of depression and loneliness.

Police do not know why he turned up dead on Jan. 26. In June, the Los Angeles Police Department posted a $50,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest.

The Hernandez family is still waiting and wondering. The players on his basketball team dedicated their season to their coach.

"He was a brave guy," team captain Jeffrey Hernandez wrote in a message. "He wouldn't give up on anything."

Read the full story here.

-- Sam Allen

Photo: Ana and Emanuel Hernandez maintain a memorial in their apartment for their brother, Eddy Hernandez, who was shot to death in January. He was often at the center of the family’s world. Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times