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Damien White, 19

  Damien White, a 19-year-old black man, was shot several times early on Sunday, April 5, 2009, after getting into a fight outside a club in the 5500 block of South Western Avenue in South Los Angeles, authorities said.

Police initially said White had been shot while driving his car.

They later said White, of Lennox, got into a fight with someone outside the club about 1:05 a.m. Sunday and “during the struggle the suspect produced a handgun and shot White multiple times.”

White then got into his car and drove to a gas station at the intersection of Slauson and Western avenues, where he collapsed, police said. He was pronounced dead at 1:30 a.m.

White used to play for the Culver City High School football team and was one of the top wide receivers in the school’s history. In the first round of the Southern Section Western Division playoffs in 2006, it was White’s 52-yard reception in the second quarter that sparked the Centaurs into action and to a 33-15 victory over La Canada St. Francis.

He graduated in June 2007 with a total of 1,868 receiving yards, and after bringing his grades and test scores up was offered a scholarship at the University of Minnesota, said one of his former football coaches, Greg Goodyear.

“He’s really fast and he can catch the ball, he’s got great moves,” Goodyear said.

White left Minnesota after again struggling with grades and enrolled in El Camino College last fall, where he planned to play football.

Although police have said White was a gang member, Goodyear disputed that, saying White may have hung out with people affiliated with gangs, but he was not an active member.

“He was just a good kid that was probably in the wrong spot,” Goodyear said.

-- Ari B. Bloomekatz

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