YORK, Pa. --- The York Bears youth football team was missing one of their own at practice Thursday evening.
Elias Dowlatram, 5, died from a gunshot wound on Tuesday.
Teddy Dewitt, head coach of the "smurfs" ages 5-8 team, said they wanted to have the memorial on the field at Hannah Penn Middle School.
“This was the right place. This is where he loved to be at…He just showed that interest that he loved the game and that really made me put my heart and soul into him. Great kid, he had a smile that could shake the world,” said Dewitt.
Dewitt described Dowlatram as "very respectful" and "focused."
He said those traits earned him his York Bears nickname.
“I call him "Papa" because he did everything I asked him to do. You know what I’m saying? He was the Papa of the team,” said Dewitt.
He said he wanted to unite the team and their organization to support Elias' family.
The team signed a football that, Dewitt said, Elias liked to play with during practice. They gave the football to Elias' mother.
Dewitt said their season starts on September 1 and they plan to dedicate the season to Elias.