A Des Moines (Iowa) North High School sophomore and beloved basketball player died Wednesday in an alley from a gunshot wound to his chest.
Police found Kendall Foster, 17, of Des Moines, in an alley behind a home.
Narcotics officers happened to be serving a search warrant in the neighborhood when they heard six to 10 gunshots south of Harrison Avenue, which is just west of where Foster was found, Des Moines police Sgt. Paul Parizek confirmed.
Foster was struggling to breathe and appeared to be going into shock, according to a police report. An officer found a small gunshot wound at the center of Foster’s chest, and he was losing a large amount of blood.
Medics transported Foster to Mercy Medical Center where he later died from the injuries. At least one player from the 10th grade Polar Bear basketball team was by his side, said Coach Chad Ryan, who learned Foster didn’t make it Wednesday night.
“My reaction was shock and disbelief when I first heard what happened … and now just sadness,” Ryan said. “I think for the kids on the team, it’s like losing a family member.”
This is the first player Ryan’s lost to a tragedy like this, Ryan said. He coached Foster through his freshman year as well.
“Kendall loved playing. He had a great smile and a great personality,” Ryan recalled. “I remember, after his freshman year, he wrote me a postcard thanking me for being his basketball coach.”
Ryan said he was impressed by Foster’s ability to juggle basketball practice, school and work at Palmer’s Deli.
Foster came from Chicago to Des Moines in 2009, enrolling in fourth grade at Edmunds Elementary School.
That year, Foster joined his school’s student council, which meant he gave up his lunch recess every Monday to plan programs like a school-wide recycling program, according to a 2009 article from the Register archives.
“Kendall, he worked extremely hard and was a very solid basketball player who loved the game and had a bright future. He was loved by many, and he’ll be missed,” said Ryan.
A vigil will be held in front of the school at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Ryan has already set up a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral expenses for Foster’s family.