Truckee snowboarder slain at Reno party |

Truckee snowboarder slain at Reno party

The mood at a Truckee coffee house was somber Tuesday afternoon, as several friends gathered to remember the young man they called a local legend.

Charles Kelly, 21, known better by his middle name of Coogan, was one of three persons shot and killed at a Halloween party early Sunday in Reno.

“He was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Samantha Van Ruiten, Kelly’s girlfriend, who attended the party with him until gunfire erupted. “There is no explanation for why this happened.”

Reno police investigators say the shooting broke out on a crowded dance floor at a private party. On Tuesday inside Truckee’s Wild Cherries, Van Ruiten said shoving by the dancers turned into a fight, and she was separated from Kelly before the shooting occurred.

Kelly was a native of the Sierra Valley who loved to fish, swim and snowboard, often around Donner Lake, where he had recently lived with his mom and two sisters.

“He was full of life,” said Carolyn Keigley, a Truckee High art teacher who knew Kelly since kindergarten. “He had a strong personality, but a very gentle spirit.”

After attending Truckee High School, Kelly pursued a passion for snowboarding. He was skilled enough to attract local sponsorship by NJB clothing and Totally Board in Truckee, as well as national endorsements from Adidas and Ride snowboards.

Kelly’s exploits were featured in several snowboarding films, and he had hoped to establish himself as a professional snowboarder this winter, said NJB sponsor Nate Brouwer of Truckee.

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