The Chandler High School football team is mourning the loss of Kelvin “K.J.” Taylor, who spent the 2020 season with the Wolves after transferring from West Virginia.
According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Taylor was shot and killed Wednesday night in Charleston, West Virginia, where he returned after the Arizona football season to finish his senior year at Capital High School. Officials said he was transported to a local hospital shortly after the shooting but succumbed to his injuries. An investigation is underway.
Taylor was 18 years old.
“I thought, ‘how is that possible?’” said Chandler head coach Rick Garretson. “You never think anybody, a young person, is going to have that type of tragedy in their life. He was just a kid looking to enjoy his senior year.
“It’s just a shock. Any time you lose a young person let alone someone you know, it’s shocking and it's tragic.”
Taylor starred for Capital at wide receiver his first three years of high school, as he helped lead the Cougars to the playoffs every season. He was due for another breakout senior season before fall sports were canceled in West Virginia as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seeking an opportunity, Taylor transferred to Chandler where he immediately became one of the Wolves’ return specialists on punts and kickoffs. He helped contribute to Chandler’s Open Division championship run, the second in as many years and fifth straight state title overall.
Garretson announced Taylor’s unfortunate passing on social media Thursday afternoon. It was met with support from fellow athletes and coaches from across the Valley.
Chandler assistant head coach Eric Richardson and assistant coach Scott Russell broke the news of Taylor’s passing to players Thursday while Garretson was off campus for the day. While only with the program for a short period of time, Taylor was immediately welcomed and loved by everyone involved.
“He was really well-embraced by his fellow teammates coming from another state, one that is really far away,” Garretson said. “Any time something like this happens with young people, you just wonder how this could happen. It’s like it’s kind of not real.”