COMPTON (CBSLA) — Family, friends and loved ones are mourning the loss of 14-year-old Semaj Miller, who was shot and killed in South Los Angeles on July 29.
Police are still searching for the suspected shooter and have not yet determined a motive behind Miller’s death.
Standing at 6’6″ and with the skills and attitude to match, Miller had been desired by basketball teams all across the state and was a standout at the youth basketball program, L.A. City Wildcats.
“I’ve had to bury several of my L.A. City Wildcat kids over the years but this a little bit more personal. He was the youngest kid I’ve ever had to get involved to make sure he’s laid to rest properly,” said Derrick Cooper, Miller’s former youth coach and president of the L.A. City Wildcats Youth Academy.
Miller was set to start at Compton High School next month, where coaches are now left heartbroken over the sudden loss after seeing the potential he would bring to the campus.
“He would ride his bike 10 miles to come play basketball. 10 miles and 10 miles back, as a 14-year-old. His bike got a flat, he walked 10 miles to go play,” said Compton High School Coach Tony Thomas.
Miller’s work ethic on the court stood out, but he was also heavily involved in the lives of younger basketball players.
“He was a good role model for our younger kids. We’ve got little ones that are five and six. He would catch the bus to their games and coach them,” Cooper said.
Compton Mayor Aja Brown said she will participate in a vigil for Miller outside City Hall on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Hundreds of people are expected to attend.