Five men are in custody after a weekend shooting that left a Sultana High School junior dead.

Apple Valley Police and Fire Departments responded to a report that a person had been shot on the 23000 block of HoHoKam Road shortly at 12:30 a.m., Sunday, April 6. There they discovered Steven Gonzales, 17, lying on the sidewalk. He was taken to Desert Valley Hospital, where he died of a gunshot wound to the upper body.

Gonzales was an offensive guard and defensive tackle for the Sultana varsity football team, which he had played on for the past two years. He was also a junior varsity basketball player.

"He's a great guy," Sultana High School football coach Zane Sweeney said Monday. Sweeney had known Gonzales since he was a freshman, and had been talking to the athletic department of Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., about Gonzales' prospects on Friday.

"When you hear about things like this, if it was a gang-on-gang murder, you feel sorry for the kid, but that's the game they were playing," Sultana Principal Tracy Marsh said Monday. "But this was just a totally nice kid at a party."

"This kid was a stellar kid, he was awesome. You know, you've got those go-to guys? He was one of them ... on and off the field," Sweeney said. "He just had that aura around him that kids would do the right thing. He was a leader."

According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, Gonzales was attending a party at the location Saturday night when he allegedly got into a fistfight between him and another partygoer. Following the party, several people approached Gonzales. One of them shot him and then fled.

Five suspects are in custody: Jose Antonio Acosta, 24, Frankie Adams, 21, Gabriel Adams, 18, Steve Martinez, 28, and a 16-year-old juvenile, whose name is being withheld by the sheriff's department. All are residents of Apple Valley.

"Homicide worked diligently throughout the weekend," said sheriff's department spokesman Arden Wiltshire on Monday.

Investigators recovered physical evidence linking the suspects to Gonzales' murder during the arrests, according to a department release.

Sultana students are raising money to help Gonzales' family with funeral costs, including lemonade and pizza sales.

"You know, it's just amazing to see how one young man whose presence has been felt by so many on this campus," Marsh said. "I've never seen anything like this, this much outpouring for a student."

"I'm beside myself; I've lost somebody I respect," Sweeney said. "He was one of my guys."

Donations to Gonzales' family can be made through Sultana's ASB office at 17311 Sultana Street. For more information, call 947-6777.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call Detective John Gaffney or Sgt. Tom Bradford at (909) 387-3589 or call the anonymous WE-TIP line at (800) 78-CRIME.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.