Coach: Ex-Yates basketball star was victim, not a suspect

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Tracy Clemons reports on the death of a former high school basketball star. (KTRK)

It's been nearly a week since former Yates High School basketball star, Melvin Swift, was shot and killed at a home on Houston's south side. While police are investigating the circumstances that led to Swift's death, his former AAU coach shared the family's side of the story for the first time since the shooting exclusively with Eyewitness News.

"The first time I saw him, I knew he was special," Herb Baker said of Swift.

Baker coached Swift in AAU ball. But he knew the rising star since he was in seventh grade.

"He had a lot of character. He was a leader. That's why everyone called him 'King Swift.'" Baker said.

Recruited heavily out of Yates, Swift landed at Trinity Valley Community College where we've learned he was enrolled for the semester, but not on the roster heading into the holiday break.

Last Tuesday, the 21-year-old was shot and killed at a neighbor's house on Jorns. Police say the man who lives there got home with several relatives. Their young daughter went to her bedroom and found Swift there with a knife. Police say things got physical and the man shot Swift. He suffered a leg wound and was pronounced dead at Ben Taub Hospital.

"Melvin wasn't a saint. He wasn't a perfect child," Coach Baker said. "But that was not Melvin Swift. He was not in that house in that capacity."

Coach Baker says he spoke with Swift's mom and another friend in the neighborhood the day after. They gave him a different story from the one the family gave police after the shooting.

"Melvin was in there with a girl," he said. "Melvin was probably in the house. The guy came home and found him there with his sister. And they had a confrontation."

We ran this version of events by Houston police. Investigators say they're not releasing any additional information.

The case will be referred to a grand jury, so surely more of what happened could be sorted out during that process. The DA's office says it'll likely take some time to get there, possibly at least six months.
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