Denton Guyer football player dies from gunshot wound in Montague County

Posted Sunday, Sep. 01, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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A Denton Guyer football player died in a Bowie hospital late Saturday after he was found by deputies with a gunshot wound in a Montague County pasture, the sheriff said Sunday.

No one has been arrested related to the death of Nathan Maki, 18, but a 17-year-old was arrested at the scene on a charge of minor in possession of alcohol, said Montague County Sheriff Larry Cunningham on Sunday.

“This is still an open investigation,” Cunningham said in a telephone interview.

Deputies responded to a shooting call about 11:10 p.m. Saturday at a field off Miller Road near Bowie. Bowie is about 55 miles northwest of Denton.

The deputies found Maki suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to Bowie Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Cunningham said that a rifle was found at the scene.

“I’m not familiar with that location,” Cunningham said when asked if deputies had responded to any previous calls at the field.

The case is being investigated by the sheriff’s office, Montague County district attorney’s office and Texas Rangers..

Once the investigation is complete, it will be referred to the Montague County district attorney’s office, Cunningham said.

Guyer Head Coach John Walsh expressed shock at Maki’s unexpected death.

“As a coach or administrator, you don’t prepare for anything like this. But Guyer’s a strong family and we’re going to take care of the Makis along the way,” he told the Denton Record-Chronicle.

Guyer running backs coach Oschlor Flemming told the Record Chronicle that he’ll remember Maki with fondness.

“Nathan is a great kid. It’s evidenced by the people that have showed up at the school. He always had a big smile on his face. I don’t think he had an enemy in the world,” Flemming said. “He was always happy. He was one of the better kids in our program - just as a kid, period.”

Walsh was making plans to bring Maki’s teammates together to deal with the sudden loss.

“We’re going to meet at Guyer with a bunch of them and start praying, and go from there,” he told the Denton newspaper.

Flemming said he learned of the incident about 8:30 a.m. Sunday.

“We went to his house and we’ve been up at the school with the kids. We just told them lean on each other,” Flemming said. “It’s amazing to see the Wildcat family come together at a tragic time like this.”

Maki, a senior, missed Thursday’s season opener against Cedar Hill due to an injury.

Last season, his first as a full-time varsity player, Maki played a big role in Guyer’s vaunted rushing attack as a key lead blocker, rushing for 155 yards on 22 carries and four touchdowns. He also caught seven passes for 88 yards and a touchdown.

“The hardest thing about being a coach, you’re used to being able to fix stuff for these kids. That’s the hardest part about watching these kids,” Flemming said. “You know you can’t fix it. That’s what makes it doubly hard for us as coaches in this program.”

The Denton school’s website on Sunday expressed its support for the Maki family: “Our team, school, community, and most of all the family of Nate Maki, have suffered a great loss. Many people have reached out asking how they can help. The football booster club will establish an account at Northstar Bank to support the family in navigating this tragedy financially. Details on how to make a donation will be posted on Tuesday. In the meantime, please pray for the Maki family and our entire community.”

In addition, Walsh also wrote on the Guyer website on Sunday: “The Wildcat Nation’s thoughts and prayers go out to #33 Nathan Maki and family. Though, you may not be with us physically on the field, you are in our hearts forever. We love you Nate!”

This report incoludes information from the Denton Record Chronicle.

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763 Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

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