PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The community continues to grieve another teenager shot and killed over the weekend at a party in Vancouver. 19-year-old Alex Castagnoli and 18-year-old Amadou Keita were shot and killed at that party early Sunday. The suspect is still out there.
From a young age, Castagnoli’s coaches stepped in as father figures and mentors, along with their kids who became like siblings and lifelong friends. As they grieve his loss, they hope others can step up and do the same for other young men like they did for him.
“I feel like he was at the wrong place at the wrong time and it’s still hard to talk about it,” said Sierra Stanley, a close friend who grew up with Castagnoli as a sister. “He was there for everybody all the time.”
Castagnoli was a teenager known for his team spirit on the field and the court, with plans for college this fall. However, this past weekend, the 19-year-old was shot and killed at a house party in Vancouver. His friends say it was mostly made up of fellow student athletes, and the news left them devastated.
“It’s very devastating to lose another young one,” said Neithan Stanley, a coach and father figure to Castagnoli, who says he never stopped moving and always had a smile on his face. “Alex was a great kid. I don’t want people to misunderstand who he was. He was a great kid, he was a son, he was an uncle. He wasn’t a gang member. He was just a young man trying to get by in life like the rest of us and he’ll be greatly missed.”
Days later, as loved ones hope someone will know what happened that night and come forward, they also hold tight to their memories with the teen.
“I met him in youth football,” said Jaden Stanley, a close friend who grew up with Castagnoli as a brother. “We used to always go to basketball camps and go out for tournaments and stuff. It’s hard for me. I miss my brother. I used to always be with him, used to joke with him. I’ll always miss his laugh.”
Coach Stanley knew Castagnoli since he was in elementary school and youth football, quickly becoming a father figure and mentor over the years, along with Coach Anthony Jordan. Both men say they also had mentors and lifelines from a young age and promised to someday be that to others — like Castagnoli — adding many young men and women come from broken situations and families. They were that lifeline for Castagnoli and hope others will step up for the countless others in the area who don’t have someone watching out for them and need that guidance and support.
“Diving into the deep end of a young man’s life is difficult. We come from broken situations, broken families, but what a beautiful picture it is to be in a place where you look up,” said Jordan, who also served as a mentor and father figure in Castagnoli’s life, “and waiting for a man to throw his life ring. There’s so many of them that want to do it but are afraid to do it, and all we ask is for one man to invest in one young man, one woman to invest in one young woman. Watch how it truly changes, when all heck breaks loose in their life, you’re the one who’s willing to show up.”
While it’s still unknown who was responsible for shooting and killing Castagnoli and Keita, as well as injuring two others at the party — or what their background is — Neithan says it’s important to get involved early, whether that’s teaching them guns aren’t the right way to express their anger, or just letting them know someone cares.
“I just ask that you fill in the gap to these young men. Alex wasn’t just mentored and loved by us, he was loved by many,” said Neithan. “If you’re not putting the best foot forward with these kids and you’re not in the trenches with them, we’re going to continue to lose them, guns or not.”
Vancouver Police say there are no new updates when it comes to suspects or arrests in that shooting. A GoFundMe account is set up to help Castagnoli’s mom with funeral expenses, with services planned within the next week.