Football coach says man arrested in homicide was a mentor to youth

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Days after 30 year old Darius Warner, a Wichita North High School paraeducator, was arrested and booked on suspicion of first degree murder, following a fatal stabbing, a man who knew him is speaking on his behalf.

“This is a situation that none of us had any control of other than Darius and the situation he was in,” says Jeromo Crawford, Director of the Wichita Titans Youth Football program.

Crawford says Darius Warner, was a dependable coach.

Now he’s in jail.

“He was just fun to be around. The kids loved him. I am sure some of the parents aren’t even telling their kids something happened because it would be such a shock to some of the kids to learn that,” adds Crawford.

More than a coach, he says Warner was a mentor to troubled youth.

“We always preach to our kids and I have heard him preach, be bigger than the situation that you are in,” says Crawford. “Don’t get yourself caught up in something you can’t get out of.”

Warner spent a lot of time with youth so when Crawford heard about his arrest he was caught off guard.

“I mean that is so far from his character for him to go and initiate trouble,” explains Crawford.

Warner, is in Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of first degree murder, after another man, Theo Lolar, died from a stab wound.

“I am sorry that another young man lost his life that is tragic,” says Crawford.

Crawford says he hopes that warner was acting in self-defense because he knows a lot of youth are still looking up to him.

“I guarantee he is sitting up there right now, regretting. I know him well enough to know he is hurting inside and he regrets what he did. I know he does,” explains Crawford.

USD 259 district officials say they expect to take care of personnel matters on Monday.

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