High school star shot down in Dallas Domino argument provokes murder

September 03, 1993|By Al Brumley | Al Brumley,Dallas Morning News

DALLAS -- A star high school football player was shot to death early yesterday after an argument that broke out during a game of dominoes, police said.

Jerome Gordon, 18, was shot once in the face as he prepared to drive away from an apartment complex, where he lived with his family, in the north Oak Cliff section.

Minutes after the shooting, police arrested a 25-year-old man as he was leaving the scene. The suspect also has been accused of shooting another man in the arm during the incident. Police expected to charge the man with murder and attempted murder.

Gordon's death stunned his coaches and teammates at Adamson High School, where he was a senior. Football coach Jim Argenti called Gordon "a blue-chip prospect, one of the best in the state of Texas."

Gordon was considering playing college football at UCLA or Texas A&M, Argenti said. The tailback gained 1,156 yards rushing in 1992.

"He was fast and strong," Argenti said. "He had a great attitude, a great work ethic. He was a happy-go-lucky kid. The team's taking it real hard."

Adamson still will play Fort Worth Polytechnic High School tonight, Argenti said.

"Jerome Gordon never quit," he said. "He rose to the occasion, and he would want us to rise to the occasion. If we didn't play on Friday, we would look like quitters, and we're not quitters. We're going to play and think about him and his memory."

Larry Brisco, a junior cornerback at Adamson, said he could not believe that his friend and teammate was gone.

"I had a dream that something like this might happen a little while ago," he said. "But I never thought it would. Jerome is gone now, and I have to carry on with my life. That's what he would want me to do."

The cornerback said he met Gordon at Greiner Middle School. They were friends and played on the football team together. He found out yesterday morning that something had happened to his friend.

"It seemed like everyone was real quiet, so I asked some guys what was going on," he said. "When they told me Jerome had been shot, I couldn't believe it. I still can't. It's very hard."

Gordon's family could not be reached. The landlord at their apartment complex said the family had told him they were too upset to talk. Gordon's mother was under sedation last night, the landlord said.

The shooting occurred about 12:30 a.m. in an alley near Gordon's home. Gordon and several of his friends had been playing dominoes when an argument erupted, said Sgt. Jerry King of the Dallas Police Department's homicide section.

The suspect grew hostile during the argument and told the group that he was going to his home to get a gun. The man lived nearby and walked to his residence, King said.

Gordon and five or six of his friends piled into his car to leave. Before they could get away, however, the suspect approached the car with a 9mm pistol in his hand, King said.

The man told Gordon that if he moved the car, he would shoot him. Gordon moved the car, and the man shot him once in the face, King said.

None of the others in the car was injured. A man who heard the gunshot came outside to see what was happening, and the suspect shot him in the left arm, King said.

Gordon died about 45 minutes later at Methodist Medical Center.

"It's really a tragedy," King said. "It's a shame that an argument over a domino game has to escalate into a young man losing his life like that."

Argenti said that he went to Methodist as soon as he heard that Gordon had been shot. He sat in the waiting room and talked to some of Gordon's relatives as they arrived.

Then the doctor entered the room.

"He said, Jerome tried to fight like no one he'd ever seen, but he just couldn't win," Argenti said.

Argenti said the football player's death seemed like a dream. "It didn't really hit me until this morning that he had died," Argenti said. "I thought I would see him at school this morning, but I didn't."

Tavaras Porter, 14, said Gordon was his best friend.

"I've known him about three years," Tavaras said. "He was a nice guy, easy-going. He was nice to everybody. He didn't ever make trouble."

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