Family of track coach shot, killed in Phoenix remembered as a ‘gentle giant’

Phoenix police are looking for the suspect who shot and killed David Denogean while he was walking his dog near 12th Street and Maryland Avenue.
Published: Nov. 27, 2022 at 10:24 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Friends and family of Valley track coach and teacher David Denogean are grieving the sudden loss of their brother, son, and companion. Someone shot Denogean Friday afternoon, and he later died at the hospital. A vigil was held Sunday night in his honor near 12th Street and Maryland Avenue, which is north of Bethany Home Road, the place where he was shot and killed.

Denogean was with his family for Thanksgiving a day before his life was taken, his dad, Frank Denogean, said. “We were all eating together, and David got to meet his new niece. He was an uncle for the first time and got to hold baby Daniella,” he said.

David, 30, was described as kind and gentle, someone who loved everyone just as much as he loved his football team. “The Chiefs played the Rams, and my son and I should have been home tonight cheering against each other and enjoying each other,” Frank said.

Instead, loved ones placed flowers next to a photo of David, and many candles lit up the dark parking lot where he was shot and killed while walking his dog. Dozens of people, including the Phoenix police and fire departments, showed up for the family. “Oh man, it was mind blowing that all these people were here,” Frank said. “We greatly appreciate the outpouring of love.”

David was a substitute teacher and track coach at Camelback High School. He also worked as a security guard for seven years at Rebel Lounge. He was loved by many.

Jennifer Franklin worked with David since the venue opened. “Big teddy bear, he was the nicest person,” she said. Franklin was outside of The Rebel Lounge on Sunday afternoon, creating a sign that reads, “Rest in peace, David. Shows will be less fun without you.”

As loved ones share their memories of David, they still want to know who did this and why. Police said on Monday the shooter is a white or Hispanic man who has a slender build and was wearing dark clothing. Officers believe several people may have been in the area and saw the shooting. Anyone with information is asked to call the Phoenix Police Department at (602) 262-6151 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS (or 480-TESTIGO for Spanish speakers).

The family also has a GoFundMe set up if you’d like to donate to help with funeral and medical expenses.