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Many Leads in Parella Shooting

October 1, 2000

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) _ The fatal shooting of the father of San Diego Chargers player John Parella has a prompted a ``tremendous number″ of leads.

``It’s going to take a long time to get through all of the information we’ve been given,″ Sheriff Jerry Watson said.

Joe Parrella’s body was found by sheriff’s deputies responding to a home security alarm several hours before dawn Friday. The 63-year-old car dealer had been shot twice.

The death was digfficult on the Chargers, who lost 57-31 Sunday to the St. Louis Rams. Linebacker Junior Seau called Friday’s practice the toughest of his pro career, defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely described feeling intense anger and defensive end Raylee Johnson was momentarily speechless when asked about the shooting.

``He was like a dad to me,″ Johnson told the San Diego Union-Tribune. ``He would throw these big hugs around you after games whether we’d win or lose.

``I didn’t know him long, but it was better to know him a little rather than not at all, because he was a great example of what a dad should be.″

John Parrella, a former Nebraska, left San Diego on Friday morning to join family members before flying to St. Louis.

Before leaving California, he called Nunnely.

``My heart went out to him big-time there, because it’s one thing losing a parent to natural causes,″ Nunnely said. ``But to have someone take a parent or a child or whatever away from you, then that really angered me.

``The more I’ve been walking around here today, the madder I get because that man should be here today. He should be in this world today, living.″

Watson said people have been calling in tips and names of people who might have been angry with Parrella, such as disgruntled employees.

A handgun was found near Parrella’s body, authorities said, and tests are being done to determine if it had been fired. Preliminary autopsy results confirmed that only one of the shots would have been fatal.

It is not clear if someone tried to break into the home when the shooting happened. Parrella’s wife, Shirley, was in the house at the time.

Funeral services are Tuesday in Grand Island.

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