David Laut,the bronze medal winning shot putter, was shot dead by prowlers outside of his home. Read more on this story below.
The former Olympic shot putter had reportedly stepped outside his home to confront prowlers and was gunned down, according police.
Police were called and found Laut lying in the side yard of his home, dead from multiple gunshot wounds. No arrests have been made and police have no suspects, said Oxnard Police Sgt. Ron Whitney.
The neighborhood of well-kept tract homes built in the 1980s is about two miles from the beach, and police rarely are called there for violent crime, Whitney said.
“I consider it a good area of town,” the police sergeant said.
Neighbors and friends are shocked to hear the news that Laut, a 6-foot-3 “gentle giant,” had been killed.
“It was an honor to know him,” said Carter Laurie, Laut’s next-door neighbor, wiping away tears. “He was a local boy who did well and came back to share his talents with the community.”
Laurie said he had gone to bed early with a cold. But his wife heard three shots about midnight. The couple dismissed the disturbance as firecrackers until police arrived a few minutes later, Laurie said.
Laut had insisted that his wife stay inside while he checked on some noise in the yard, Laurie said he was told by Laut’s mother-in-law.
Laut’s wife “heard him say, ‘What the hell are you doing here?’ and then she heard ‘bang, bang, bang,’ ” Laurie said.
Laut was the athletic director for Hueneme High School, and before that, he served for eight years as track coach at Hueneme High, and then left for one year to take a coaching job at a school in Ventura.
Laut had spent several hours on campus Thursday helping arrange sports physicals for students who would be starting classes next week, the principal said, adding that Laut was well liked by students and staff.
“He was a gentle giant, compassionate and student- focused,” Palazuelos said. “And he was a competitor like no other.”
Laut worked out every day in his garage, which he had converted into a gym, Laurie and other neighbors said. He was modest about his past sports accomplishments, said neighbor Chet Thomas.
“I never knew he was a medalist until somebody told me,” Thomas said. “He never changed.”
Our condolences to David Laut’s family.
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