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Colts will pay expenses for memorial services honoring youth football coach killed in I-65 shooting

The beloved local coach and youth mentor will be remembered at a funeral this weekend.

INDIANAPOLIS — As Damon Lee prepares to lay his cousin Donnell Hamilton to rest, he's choosing to remember the good times they shared.

"Coach Nell was a wonderful human being. He was a determined young man. The worst thing you could do for Nell is tell him he couldn't do something," said Lee.

Among his many projects was the Indy Steelers youth football team. Players looked up to Hamilton as a mentor and father figure.

"Nell deserves justice, the kids from the Indy Steelers deserve justice and our family deserves justice," Lee said.

State police said Hamilton was a passenger in a work van when he was hit by a bullet that came from outside of the van last week.

The Indianapolis Colts have stepped up to pay for Hamilton's funeral after hearing about all the things he did for his community.

"Donnell Hamilton was a pillar in Indianapolis, and we are all grieving his passing. Coach Nell was a mentor, father, brother, uncle, friend and more to all who have participated in the Indy Steelers program. He understood the struggles that many kids in his community faced and created a support system, both on and off the field, to provide them an opportunity at a better life. Coach Nell’s legacy will continue through the kids, families and Tarkington Park community that he loved and served," read a statement from the team.

The Colts confirmed they will also pay expenses for a gathering after the funeral service.

Lee said Nell was a huge Colts fan and feels this donation is proof that his impact goes beyond the grass at Tarkington Park.

"Everybody was really ecstatic and really happy that they respect the work Coach Nell put in and that it's not in vain," said Lee.

Even though Nell's death was a tragedy, Lee believes this gift from the Colts proves that the way he lived surpasses everything else.

"I think it's really important to show these kids that even though something happens to a good person that there's still hope," said Lee.

Visitation for Coach Nell is set for Saturday, Jan. 21 from 10 a.m. to noon at Olivet Missionary Baptist Church, 4141 N. High School Road. Repass will be held immediately following the funeral service at the Colts' Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, 7001 West 56th Street.

Detectives are asking anyone with dashboard cameras who were in the area of I-65 and County Line Road in Greenwood on Jan. 11 between 6:20 and 6:30 p.m. to review recordings and contact the Indiana State Police at 317-899-8577. 

Anyone with information about the crime can also anonymously call tips in to Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-TIPS.

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