Killed in shooting, Stamford High grad remembered as 'a real team player' on and off football field

Courtney Lewis, a Stamford High School graduate, was killed Sunday night, friends told The Stamford Advocate on Monday.

Courtney Lewis, a Stamford High School graduate, was killed Sunday night, friends told The Stamford Advocate on Monday.

Contributed / Denice Dutra-Laveris

STAMFORD — The community is mourning the death of a 19-year-old Stamford High School graduate after he was fatally shot Sunday night.

Courtney Lewis, a former standout football and volleyball player for Stamford High School, was killed Sunday night, friends told The Stamford Advocate on Monday. Police, while not releasing the name of the victim, confirmed a 19-year-old was killed after gunshots broke out during a get-together of car enthusiasts in Stamford’s West Side neighborhood on Sunday.

“I’m just shocked,” said Jamar Greene, who coached Lewis for the Stamford High football team. “When I found out, I had to pull the car over and just take about 15 minutes to sit there and reflect on my relationship with him.”

As a four-year player, Lewis made a name for himself on the team with his toughness and tenacity, Greene said.

Despite being an “undersized” defensive end, Lewis still managed to be one of the team’s best defensive players, Greene said.

“He always gave 110 percent,” he said.

In his final season with the team, Lewis led the team in sacks, managing to do so even though he didn’t play the entire season, Greene said.

Greene said Lewis was “very soft-spoken” and “well-mannered” off the field. But his taciturn nature didn’t stop Lewis from being a “popular and well-liked” kid, his former coach said.

Ernie Ricco was Lewis’ offensive coordinator for only one season in 2018, but he said one year was all it took develop a bond with Lewis that extended beyond the field.

“He was the type of kid who would do whatever was asked of him for the sake of the team. He was a real team player, that’s just the kind of person he was,” Ricco said.

Ricco said there was an unspoken, intangible quality about Lewis. Within minutes of meeting him, he said, you could “just tell he was a real good kid.”

“I really hope his family and friends can find comfort in the positive memories they have of him, because he was a good person,” Ricco said.

Sharon Beadle, spokesperson for Stamford schools, said on Monday that school counselors were being made available to any students dealing with grief from the death.

The fatal shooting happened around 10:45 p.m. Sunday in the area of the RPM Raceway, 600 West Ave., Lt. Tom Scanlon said.

Lewis, who police have not formally identified yet, was attending a “car meet” with other car enthusiasts in the parking lot of RPM, though the business was closed at the time of the incident.

During the meet-up, there was an undisclosed dispute between attendees that ended with a gun being drawn and fired, Scanlon said.

A 33-year-old and 17-year-old were also struck in the gunfire, Scanlon said.

The elder victim suffered a gunshot wound to the chest, while the younger was shot in the leg. Both were treated with non-life-threatening injuries, Scanlon said.

Stamford’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations was still on scene investigating the shooting Monday afternoon.

The scene showed signs of the mayhem a night earlier, with broken glass, a single shoe and tire treads scattered across the parking lot.

Scanlon said he believes there were multiple witnesses to the shooting.

Police are also pulling footage from nearby surveillance cameras to aid the investigation, he said.

An investigator on scene Monday said that footage, however, was partially obscured by the large amounts of smoke generated by the donuts and burnouts being done by cars prior to the shooting — making investigators’ jobs that much harder.

Scanlon did not comment on whether there was a person of interest in the investigation.

Wilner Joseph, an outspoken anti-gun violence and community advocate in Stamford, called Lewis’ death a “tragedy” and a “heart-wrenching loss” for the community.

While Joseph said he didn’t know Lewis very well, he does know how hard it is to lose a loved one to gun violence.

The Hoops 4 All founder experienced such tragedy firsthand when his brother Max Antoine, a Westhill High School graduate, was gunned down while leaving a Bridgeport bar in 2017.

“This is a heart-wrenching loss for his friends, family and all those in the community who knew him,” Joseph said.

“We need justice for this family,” he added.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Major Crimes Unit at 203-977-4417.