How Damien Cortez impacted the people who inspired him

How Damien Cortez impacted the people who inspired him

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

As police continue investigating what led up to the 12-year-old Damien Cortez's death at a Mcdonalds drive thru, those who knew Damien are mourning. 

He spent most of his elementary days at Hodges Elementary School. Assistant Principal Alice Jimenez said he was a gifted student with endless potential.  

"His teachers loved him," Jimenez said. "We had several teachers who were just heartbroken over what happened."  

Jimenez said Damien always went above and beyond. 

"He was a leader, students looked up to him," Jimenez said. "Last year, he was actually the winner of our school spelling bee." 

While he was dedicated in school, he also had a passion for baseball. 

"Damien was in second or third grade and he loved wearing his baseball gloves," Jimenez said. "He wanted to wear them at school but you know it wasn't something you know we allowed students to but  I just knew he loved baseball, his teachers would actually go watch his baseball games."

It was one of those teachers who also gave Damien the opportunity to attend a baseball camp where he met Estacado High School graduate and professional baseball player, A.J. Ramos. 

"He had a broken arm at that camp and he wasn't able to participate in all of the drills," Ramos said. "But I could tell that he wanted to. "

After hearing Damien was a big fan, Ramos took a photo with him and they had a brief conversation.

"It's a tragic thing and the more and more I talk about it the more I remember, he was a quiet kid," Ramos said. "I'm telling you when I was talking to him he listened to every word. I bet if you asked him he could of recited every word I told him and just the joy for the game, just doing the drills, he was happy doing the drills. "        

Jimenez said while it is a difficult time for many of his former teachers, they are going to remember the positive impact Damien has made.

"He was always just one of those students that you just loved to have in your classroom," Jimenez said. "We definitely thought that he had great potential and we knew he was going to be, something in life and succeed." 

Damien also attended two other schools in New Deal and Roosevelt ISD. Both districts released a statement and are offering counseling for teachers and students.

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