Steven Gonzales, the Sultana High junior who was shot and killed after a scuffle with alleged gangmembers at a late-night party in Apple Valley, was remembered as a gentle giant and friend to all.


"Steven would stand up for the little guy," said Tim Kuhl, student ministries pastor at High Desert Church. "He was compassionate. Steven was a remarkable person."


Pastor Kuhl, who spoke during Gonzales' memorial service at HDC on Monday, April 14, noted that the boy's No. 55 sports jersey was retired by Sultana "because he made an impact." And, the pastor said, "You're here to make an impact too."


Gonzales was loved by more than his schoolmates, football and basketball teammates. The "self-described mama's boy" was a devoted family member who always gave his mother a hug at games.


"An 'I love you' was always answered with an 'I love you too,'" Pastor Kuhl said. "Steven was deeply loved by his family."


Pastor Kuhl implored the hundreds of those in attendance from Sultana High School community to hold onto the memory of Gonzales.


"You will want to keep Steven with you. The way you feel today is all right."


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