OAKLAND (KPIX) — An Oakland A’s pitcher who recently graduated from the Florida high school where a gunman opened fire last week was supposed to be on campus that same day. Now he wants to do something for the school and athletic program that helped launch his career.
Jesus Luzardo graduated from Douglas High School two years ago and now he’s working his way through the minor leagues with the A’s. He had planned to practice with his alma mater’s baseball team that fateful Wednesday afternoon when 17 people died.
Luzardo was supposed to meet his coach on campus that afternoon, around the same time, police say, that 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire.
“I got a text from my old baseball coach saying not to show up, there’s a shooter. I called a lot of people I knew at the school and some people wouldn’t answer and some would, so it was kind of nerve racking you could say for a little bit,” Luzardo recalled.
One of those killed was the school’s athletic director, Chris Hixon, a man Luzardo knew well.
“I would always see him at the baseball field and every time I would see him he would always have a smile on his face. He came to a lot of our baseball banquets and he was just a really nice guy,” Luzardo said.
In the tragedy’s aftermath, Luzardo wanted to help so — working with Hixon’s family — he has set up a college scholarship fund in the coach’s name.
“We want his legacy to go on and continue helping kids like he’s done for most of his life,” said Debbi Hixon, Coach Hixon’s wife.
If you want to donate to the Hixon scholarship fund, follow the link below.