Alexander Martinez Gomez
, who was born in North Carolina but returned to Mexico to live with his mother and start his promising soccer career, was shot dead by local police in the town of
Acatlan de Perez Figueroa, in the state of Oaxaca.
The 16-year-old Martinez had spent the season that ended in March playing for UGM Norte de Orizaba, a fifth division team. He had started out at a Monterrey academy program, Filial
Rayados Tierra Blanca.
Martinez's killing and funeral received national news in Mexico following attention to police brutality in the aftermath of George Floyd
's killing in
Minneapolis and the protests that followed.
Police said Martinez was among a group of teens on motorcycles who failed to stop at a checkpoint, but a cousin said police opened fire while
they were at a gas station getting sodas. Oaxaca state prosecutors have the officer in custody and plan on filing on murder charges against him.
The checkpoints had been set up because of
high levels of street crime and organized crime involving the Jalisco New Generation cartel.
Teammates and family honored Martinez on Thursday. A soccer goal was set up next to Martinez's
casket. One of his teammates killed a soccer ball off the casket, and the ball went into the goal past a diving goalkeeper. Everyone celebrated the goal by mobbing the casket and hugging it.