Former Empire player killed in downtown Spokane shooting


A man who was shot over the weekend near the Monterey Cafe in downtown Spokane has died. Former players and coaches have identified that man as former Spokane Empire player Carl Sims.

Although he only spent a season playing for the Empire at the Spokane Arena, his former coach says his impact on his teammates and the community here will last much longer.

"A young man gone too soon. It's a tragedy," said Adam Shackleford.

Coach Shackleford knew Sims well. Coaching him and against him for the last several years in the Indoor Football League. Sims was one of the top receivers in league history, but Shackleford says there was much more to Sims than what everyone saw on the field. He described him as a leader who was liked by all of his teammates, with an infectious smile and style of play that made him a favorite of Empire fans.

Shackleford said he couldn't believe it when he began getting calls and messages from his players that Sims was gone. They told him he had passed away after being involved in a shooting in downtown Spokane Saturday. As a coach and a father, Shackleford said it was the news he hoped he'd never get.

 "If you're doing this profession correctly, they're not just football players, they're family. Carl was certainly part of my family. It was tough tonight to tell my young boys about Carl. He was one of their favorite players. Just because of how he was with our fans and kids," Shackleford said.

After finishing last season, Shackleford said Sims had moved back to Spokane and was working with kids in the community. As his coach, he says he's extremely proud of Sims as a player and a man.

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