East Bay man credited with saving teens from violence dies

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RICHMOND (KTVU) -- Family and friends are mourning the loss of an East Bay man who has been credited with saving a number of young people from street violence after the man succumbed to injuries he suffered during a fight over a week ago.

Landrin Kelly, 48, of Suisun City, was instrumental in establishing a foundation to help save young people after his son Terrance was murdered 12 years ago.

The younger Kelly was a star tight end football player for De La Salle High School but was killed just days before he was set to leave for the college. His father established The Terrance Kelly Youth Foundation to help save other young people from street violence.

But his relatives are now grappling with the tragic loss of the elder Kelly. He passed away on Feb. 13 after suffering a head injury on Feb. 11 during a fight. Police have not released many details about the incident and it was not immediately clear if any arrests have been made in the case.

Family friends told KTVU that Kelly fought with someone at a gathering in Vallejo on Saturday, Feb. 11. He suffered a head injury before dying two days later.

On Monday night, his family held a viewing at Wilson Kratzer Mortuaries in Richmond.

Those who knew Kelly described him as a father, mentor, coach and so much more. They said his grief for his slain son served to strengthen his resolve to prevent other young people from losing their lives to violence.

Hundreds of mourners filled the mortuary on a rainy Monday night to pay tribute to the impact Kelly had on the community he loved.

"He took us many places," said Carlos Quintanilla. "He took us to San Quentin to see where we'll end up (and) where one wrong decision will take us."

Carlos, 16, was one of the hundreds of students Kelly helped through the foundation he started to provide services to teach under-served, under-prepared and under-represented youth.

The youngsters Kelly inspired, motivated and helped wore a pin bearing a photo of the man they credit with keeping them on the right track.

"He'd talk to us like a best friend," Quintanilla said. "Guide us like a mentor but discipline us like a father."

In 2004, Kelly's son Terrance was shot and killed just two days before leaving to attend the University of Oregon on a football scholarship. Terrance had graduated from Concord's De La Salle High School.

The impact of Terrance's death on his team was depicted in the movie "When The Game Stands Tall." His father's idea to start the foundation resulted from his son's death.

For the past twelve years, the non-profit agency worked with students from elementary to high school, teaching them life lessons through field trips to places like funeral homes.

"It was a blessing that there is someone out there trying to help our teenagers," says Belqui Rodriguez, a single mom who says Kelly was a father figure to her two sons. "We miss him. Not only was he attached to the kids, he was attached to the parents."

"I was devastated," said Adarius Pickett, a UCLA student. "Uncle Landrin was real close to me and my brother."

Pickett and his older brother, Antoine Pickett Jr., describe their mentor's guidance as eye-opening.

"Dare to be different. Be more of a leader than a follower. That's what I can say about Landrin," Antoine Pickett said. "He kept me accountable all the time."

"It's like losing a father," Quintanilla said. "I feel like the city is going to feel a little empty because he was such a big part of the city."

Landrin Kelly's funeral is scheduled to be held Tuesday at Hilltop Community Church in Richmond at 11 a.m. His family said they plan to continue his legacy through the youth foundation he leaves behind.

Friends said it's hard to describe his invaluable service to the community. In lieu of flowers, the family says donations can be made to help the young people he served or to help with funeral expenses.

>>>>>For donations: Click here

By KTVU reporter Amber Lee.