Rising teen track star killed in Dayton shooting. Coach: ‘Team is not doing well right now’

A 15-year-old who died Tuesday after a weekend shooting is remembered as an extraordinary athlete who talked to his Dayton coaches about one day running in the Olympics.

Qua’Lek Shelton was one of two teenagers who were shot Sunday on Catalpa Drive. He died Tuesday, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

“He was small in stature but huge in confidence and determination,” Dunbar assistant track coach Alferd Powell told the Dayton Daily News.

Dayton police declined to identify the other victim, other than to say that he is 16 and in good condition.

Shelton was a freshman at Paul Laurence Dunbar Early College High School, according to Dayton Public Schools. He played on the freshman football team as a wide receiver and cornerback. He also ran on the track and field team and was an AAU national champion.

He was remembered by his coaches Wednesday as a leader who had grit, determination and a great work ethic.

RELATED: Dayton Public Schools mourns Dunbar high school student

“He had a gift and he knew he had a gift, and he talked in grandiose terms,” Powell said. “He would tell you he would run in the Olympics. He would tell you that he would run a certain time, and he was always correct. It was just exciting that we would be working with this young man, and this is lost and it’s devastating.”

Powell said the track team is a family, and Shelton had cousins on the team.

“The team is not doing well right now,” Powell said. “Emotions are all over the place. They are asking ‘why?’”

Powell and head track coach Sidney Booker said it’s their belief that Shelton was shot as an unintended target.

Police are continuing to investigate the teen’s death. Early this week, Dayton police Lt. Jason Hall said they have suspects in the case but declined to name anyone. He said it appears the shooting was the result of an ongoing feud.

A Saturn VUE believed to be connected to the shooting was recovered Wednesday in Jefferson Twp. by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, but it was not occupied.

Keith Ways coached Shelton for five years. He said he was impressed with the young man.

“He was a great student. He was a leader. He was just a wonderful person to be around,” Ways said. “He had a personality. If you met him, you couldn’t help but love him. Always smiling.”

“Qua’Lek would tell you what he was going to do, and he was going to do it,” the coach said.

Ways said what hurts worse is knowing that Shelton didn’t have to die.

“I don’t have all the answers, but I know there is a lot of senseless violence going on with our young people,” Ways said. “That’s why we are out year-round, so we give our athletes a place for them to go and we can follow them and be a light in their lives to give them an opportunity to move out of that.”

RELATED: Dunbar freshman who died was shot on Catalpa Drive

Booker told WHIO-TV that Shelton was a champion.

“He has been national champion almost every year through the age groups: 10 and under, 11 through 15 and 15/16 this summer,” he said, “We have a ready-made star who loved the sport” of track and field, Booker said. “He was just a happy-go-lucky kid who knew where his talent was.”

Dayton Public Schools said counselors will be available for students and staff who need assistance.

“The Dayton Public School District is saddened by the loss of Qua’Lek Shelton,” Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said Tuesday night. “His family, friends and classmates are in our thoughts. Crisis team members are available for those who need extra support.”

Anyone with information that can help investigators, is urged to contact Dayton police at 937-333-2677 or Miami Valley Crime Stoppers at 937-222-STOP (7867).

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