The Cody High School community is mourning the loss of a longtime girls' basketball coach who was shot and killed Tuesday night outside his apartment building in Detroit.
Charles Knott, who was in his 50s, worked for several years for Detroit Public Schools. He joined the district as a janitor following a stint in the Army and later became a coach who was popular with students, said Knott's cousin, Retonia Knott-Smith of Romulus.
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"He loved to be around kids. Even when he was working as a janitor, he was always talking to kids," she said. "He was very outgoing and direct. So if they were doing something wrong he would check them. They related to him because he just talked to them in their language."
Calvin Norman, a varsity football coach at Cody, said Knott pulled up to his apartment building in Detroit at about 10 p.m. Tuesday and was shot multiple times while still in his vehicle.
A Detroit Police Department spokesperson could not immediately be reached Wednesday night.
"It's just hard to deal with. He had been at Cody for 20 years. He had been in the DPS for 30-plus years," Norman said. "And he was a month away from retiring. He was a great guy. He loved the kids. ."
Principal Jonathan Matthews said authorities notified the school Wednesday of Knott's death. He said Knott will be deeply missed.
Knott-Smith said her cousin worked for at least three schools in the district throughout his career. She said he has family in Michigan and Alabama, and is the father of two adult daughters.
"We're at a loss," Knott-Smith said. "We don't know who could have possibly done this."
Grief counselors were at the Cody campus Wednesday, said Detroit Public Schools spokesman Steve Wasko.