Gold Medal Special Olympian Gunned Down on Bike - NBC 6 South Florida

Gold Medal Special Olympian Gunned Down on Bike

Danny Perez was shot while riding his bike on a Miami sidewalk March 12

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    Who would or who could have shot and killed Danny Perez? Hard to believe the lovable mentally challenged 36-year-old is dead. The shocking crime hits hard at HialeahMiami Lakes High School.  

    Perez was a constant within the athletic department. Part-time coach, full-time inspiration and cheerleader, Perez fired up the football team at every practice and every game, coaches said.

    Players came and went, and the same for coaches. But Perez, who graduated from the school, made the institution his home away from home.

    "I have been coach seven years and Danny never left my side," said football coach Pedro Dasnueau. "We are reaching out to the community."

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    Danny Perez was gunned down while riding his bike and his family and HialeahMiami Lakes High wants answers.
    (Published Wednesday, March 17, 2010)

    Perez's family, school coaches and Special Olympics officials begged Wednesday for anyone who might have information about the killing to come forward with what they know.

    Police say that Perez was doing what was routine for him, riding his bike to meet up with friends along Northwest 79th Street when someone simply shot him dead on March 12. That's about all police know. 

    Perez was verbal, enthusiastic and could light up a room with personality, relatives said. 

    Florida Special Olympics Executive Director Mark Thompson remembers, "In 2008, because of Danny's inspiration to our program, the athletes and coaches we serve, he was named Inspirational Athlete of the Year."

    Over the years Perez won many Special Olympics medals, awards and notoriety. He had been a Special Olympian since 1998 and he participated in powerlifting and basketball according to the Florida Special Olympics website.

    Now all he and his family need is justice.