Team-mates and friends honored a youth soccer player killed by police in Mexico with an emotional tribute on Thursday that celebrated his love for the game., the ESPN reported.

Alexander Martinez, 16, was shot in southern Mexico on Tuesday by police, when he was on his way back from buying soft drinks for a gathering to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

Before his funeral on Thursday, Martinez’s wooden coffin was placed on the ground and angled in front of the goal frame on the soccer pitch in Acatlan de Perez Figueroa, Oaxaca. A teammate kicked a ball against it, with the ball rebounding into the goal to applause, before his friends gathered around to hug the coffin and say their emotional farewells.

The video went viral in Mexico and beyond.

Martinez was born in North Carolina but grew up in Mexico and played for the lower-division side at Academics de la Universidad del Golfo de Mexico in Orizaba, Veracruz. He had a scholarship to study at the university, according to Martinez’s mother, Virginia Gomez, and had returned to Acatlan because training had been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A Mexican judge on Saturday ordered one police officer to be held in preventive detention while he is investigated for the alleged murder.

The police officer was in a patrol driving with its vehicle lights off when it blocked the way of the boy and eight other youths, according to prosecutors. The officer then got out with a shotgun and opened fire, they said. Another boy whose motorcycle skidded during the incident was hospitalized in stable condition.

“There was a direct shooting toward nine youngsters that were on motorcycles, and as [Martinez] was at the front of the group of people, he died due to a head-on shot,” Oaxaca state attorney Ruben Vasconcelos told The Associated Press.


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