Pacifica community mourns death of beloved music teacher

PACIFICA, Calif. (KGO) -- A school community is mourning the untimely and unbelievable death of Jerry Downs, a beloved band director in Pacifica. Downs was killed yesterday when his own parked van hit him in the parking lot of Ingrid B. Lacy Middle School.

Alone and in groups mourners approached the memorial many offered flowers. Others just looked on in shock.

"Everyone really loved him," said a mourner.

RELATED: Beloved band director dies in freak accident at Pacifica school

Downs spent the last 15 years as band director at Ingrid B. Lacy Middle School and Ocean Shore Elementary. Parents say kids would enter his class not knowing anything about music and leave:

"Like a real musician, because of Mr. Jerry Downs," said Gustavo Lino, parent.

Downs taught Lino's son.

"He used to get money from his own pocket to help kids who commit themselves to learn music, to buy instruments, uniforms so he was a great guy and we just shocked by how everything happened," said Lino.

Pacifica police say Downs van rolled and hit him in a freak accident in the school parking lot yesterday. He died at the hospital. The sad news quickly spread.

"Ingrid B. Lacy Middle School students and Ocean Shore students he had taught were just crying, and devastated," said Kayla Sherman, former student.

Downs' students say his legacy will not be forgotten, it carries on with every note they play.

"He taught me how to read music, how to play base-clarinet, in eighth grade I moved on to be drum major and leader of the band," said Sherman.

Now Kayla Sherman plays in the Terra Nova band.

"He was such a great person, I wouldn't be here, where I am today if it wasn't for him," said Sherman.

Grief counselors are on hand at the school. So far, there are no funeral arrangements.
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