BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A vigil in Buffalo Thursday night paid tribute to a beloved coach and mentor who was shot and killed over the weekend.

All across Emerson Park were signs of how much the Buffalo community cared about youth football coach Norzell Aldridge.

“Never take life for granted, you can be good, you could evil, you could be whatever,” said Keion Paris, who coached with Aldridge on the Beast Elite Ducks Youth Football League. “You could be here today, gone tomorrow.”

Aldridge was one of the founding fathers of the league. The players showed up at the vigil to show what the coach meant to them and their team.

“He was the super coach, everybody loved coach Nore,” Paris said. “He might talk with his chest, he might talk loud, he might sound aggressive but he’s not. Like I said, he’s like a big teddy bear.”

The 36 year-old spent Saturday coaching a game near Emerson Park. After the game a fight broke out. Friends say while trying to break up the fight, Aldridge was shot and killed.

“It’s ver heartbreaking for someone that really loved the kids, that loved the community and loved himself and loved his family to be taken out like that,” Paris said.

Loved ones say Aldridge made a sacrifice helping other people, and being a peacemaker as well as a coach was the type of people that he was.”

“I just remember him always coming to the field always smiling and that’s telling the kids do this do that and that’s telling the kids let’s go do this,”
Darline Blackmon, a friend of Aldridge, said. “And he’s just always in the kids life. All the kids come to him wanting to learn this and wanting to learn that. He always gave them good advice, great advice at all times.”

Aldridge’s mother was given a liberty medal to honor the sacrifice Aldridge made.

Buffalo police are still searching for the gunman. They ask anyone with information to call or text its confidential tipline at 847-2255.