The outpouring of support for a slain Grant High School football player now includes the Sacramento Kings and their All-Star center, as well as a neighborhood center where kids participate in after-school programs.
DeMarcus Cousins has offered to cover the costs of a funeral service for popular senior cornerback Jaulon Clavo, who was shot and killed Friday afternoon hours before the Pacers were to host Beyer of Modesto in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoff opener in Del Paso Heights.
Cousins wanted to keep his offer to the Clavo family anonymous, but word quickly spread during a candlelight vigil at Grant on Saturday night. City Councilman Rick Jennings confirmed the report to the crowd, and people cheered and hugged.
On Sunday, the Roberts Family Development Center offered a $3,500 reward to help find Clavo’s killer.
“Let’s not let the community be defined by killers of our children,” center director Derrell Roberts said. “Enough is enough. Live and let live.”
Authorities on Sunday had no new information about the shooting that in addition to killing Clavo wounded another Grant player, Malik Johnson, who is expected to recover fully.
Clavo was driving Johnson and three other teammates back to school after they’d gone out for food when someone shot into the vehicle, striking Clavo in the neck and Johnson in the arm. The athletes rushed to Grant High to get help, but Clavo could not be saved. Johnson underwent minor surgery.
Grant High football for decades has been a unifying part of the Del Paso Heights community, which was rocked by Friday’s violence. The Pacers are one of the consistently excellent programs in California, winners of seven section titles since 1991 under coach Mike Alberghini and the 2008 CIF State Open Division football championship, an accomplishment honored by a post-victory parade in Sacramento.
Since joining the Kings as a first-round pick out of Kentucky in 2010, Cousins often has frequented area high school events, particularly football and basketball games. He has attended several Grant football games, where he generally stands behind the end zone to avoid drawing attention, though he signs autographs and takes pictures with students.
He told The Sacramento Bee in 2013 while at a Grant game that he goes because “That was me not too long ago, a high school kid trying to figure out life.”
During the summer, Cousins paid for a new scoreboard and bleacher seats for Dave Hotell Pavilion at Sacramento High School in Oak Park.
The top seed in the Division II playoff field, Grant plays host to 16th-seeded Beyer on Monday at 5 p.m.
Bee staff writer Diana Lambert contributed to this report.