San Jose

San Jose Homicide Victim Identified as 19-Year-Old Former Football Star

A man who was fatally shot Saturday morning near a San Jose elementary school has been identified as 19-year-old Joseph Viramontes, according to the San Jose Police Department.

Viramontes was remembered fondly by a couple of South Bay football organizations as a kid with a "great heart."

About 10:05 a.m. Sunday, officers responded to the 900 block of Bard Street after someone called to say a person was on the ground with injuries and was not breathing, police said. The scene was on the same street as Toyon Elementary School.

Viramontes, a San Jose resident, was found suffering from at least one gunshot wound. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene, police said.

A few years ago, Viramontes was known simply as "Smiley," according to his former coach Scott Silver.

"He was a great kid," Silver said, "The reason I called him that was because he was smiling all the time. He was very respectful and very pleasant to be around."

Silver said Viramontes was raised since an infant by his grandfather. About a year ago, Silver received a call from the grandfather, who was worried about Viramontes.

"He just didn't want him to get involved with the people drinking and what young kids do and are not supposed to be doing," Silver said.

"No matter what trouble he's ever been in, what he was doing, he was a good kid," Silver said.

The San Jose Sabercats posted about Viramontes on the team's Facebook page Tuesday and linked to a GoFundMe page: "This was a young man that Jason Adams & Coach Angel Barragan help coach years back along with a few other coaches ... no donation is to small."

The San Jose 49ers youth football organization also remembered Viramontes on its Facebook page:

"We lost one of our Alumni Kids this weekend. JOSEPH "SMILEY" VIRAMONTES was a loving boy with a great heart. He spent many Saturdays with us playing football with us. Smiley paved the way as a great football player for our team while our group was up and running. The world will never be the same without you here, but we will always remember your wonderful face."

Police are investigating the death as a homicide, though a motive has not been determined and no suspects have been identified. It's the city's seventh homicide this year.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Bert Milliken or Detective Raul Corral at 408-277-5283. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 408-947-7867.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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