Tigers grieve for varsity basketball player Edward McGowan

Student killed weeks before graduation

Edward McGowan, a varsity basketball player much loved by classmates for his dedication on the court and his sense of humor, was fatally shot on May 19, just weeks before he would have graduated.

McGowan, 17, was killed during a fight inside a vehicle traveling in East Oakland on 7500 block of Garfield Avenue, according to KTVU News. Officers found him dead when they arrived at 6:43 p.m.

McGowan transferred from Fremont to Dewey in April. McGowan had been a student in Architecture Academy since his freshman year but had friendships across all three academies at Fremont. He had attended Frick Middle School.

When asked what was something he would never forget about McGowan, teammate Jordan Phills said, “He always just wanted to have a good time, play basketball and just make everybody laugh.”

McGowan played power forward and small forward for the Tigers and helped them reach the first round of the state playoffs for two years in a row.

“He played hard. He played consistent,” said Coach Scot Alexander. “He was always first in every exercise. He always had the feeling that he was the best. That competitive spirit made everybody feel that way.”

“If it wasn’t for Edward McGowan, we wouldn’t have made it to two playoffs,” said Alexander. “He was the engine.”

On a memorial banner set up for students to express their condolences and grief over McGowan, some common messages appeared.
Several students wrote, “You were like a brother to me.” Others wrote that they were in disbelief of McGowan’s death.

Oakland Unified School District sent in grief counselors to help students the day after McGowan died. It also happened to be the day that seniors were presenting their research projects to panels of teachers, alumni and outside judges. A few seniors chose to grieve instead of presenting, while others said they wanted to continue with their project to honor McGowan.

In a change since the last time a Fremont student died, the school district was quick to send out a message of condolence.

“It is heartbreaking to see the life of another youth cut short and another family robbed of a loved one,” wrote Superintendent Antwan Wilson in a letter distributed through e-mail and posted on the district website.

Spanish teacher Bree Rombi was devastated when she heard of McGowan’s death. She had worked with McGowan in her role as assistant basketball coach and had him as a student.

“He was one of the reasons that we went so far because he always did his best and pushed others,” said Rombi.

And in class?

“He was always the one to try to make everyone laugh,” said Rombi.

Staff writer Yacsiry Hernandez contributed to this story.