A Coachella Valley native killed in the attack at Kabul airport is being honored and remembered. Marine Corporal Hunter Lopez, a graduate of La Quinta High School, was among the 13 U.S. service members killed Thursday in Afghanistan.
Friday night on the field before kickoff, the La Quinta Blackhawks players ran out carrying American flags. During the national anthem, some players grew teary-eyed.
The flag was flown at half staff in honor of Lopez, a 2017 graduate of the school. The news of his death reached students during the school day Friday. His sister is currently a senior there.
"We were on our phones and we see everyone reposting a picture of him," said Priscilla Raygoza, a La Quinta High senior. "I find out it was a brother of a student here, like a friend that we know, and that was just a big shocker."
During half-time, a moment of silence was held for Lopez.
"I'm sorry for your loss and thankful for everything he's done, praying for them," said Alyssa Lopez, a senior.
Local Congressman Raul Ruiz lit a candle for Lopez in his office next to a folded American flag as soon as he got the news. He said he went to Lopez's parents' Indio home Friday. They are both long-time law enforcement officers with the Sheriff's Dept.
"I said that I'm there for him. Hunter Lopez is a hero," Ruiz said. "We will be with them in these difficult times to help cut bureaucracy, to help get answers to some of their questions."
Lopez planned on following in his parents' footsteps and working toward becoming a sheriff's deputy after deployment.