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By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 2, 2000


Leads piling up in killing

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- The fatal shooting of the father of San Diego Chargers player John Parrella has prompted a "tremendous number" of leads, police said Sunday.

"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 difficult on the Chargers. 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 player, 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 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.

LEWIS PROTEST: The grandmother and aunt of one of two men stabbed to death Jan. 31 outside a suburban Atlanta bar protested outside the stadium in Cleveland, where the Browns were hosting the Ravens. Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis and two friends originally were charged in the deaths. The protesters held up signs demanding a news conference with NFL officials.

PACKERS: Special-teams player Gary Berry was hurt on the opening kickoff against Chicago. Berry had full feeling in his extremities but felt tingling in his arms and legs and had precautionary X-rays in the locker room. Berry was blocking for kick returner Allen Rossum when he was injured.

TITANS: Receiver Carl Pickens strained his left hamstring in the third quarter against the Giants. Pickens went out on a pass play on third down, and he pulled up grabbing his left leg. Tennessee already has lost receiver Kevin Dyson for the season to a torn knee ligament, and receiver Yancey Thigpen was deactivated for the game because of a strained hamstring.

VIKINGS: Receiver Randy Moss was a little stung by criticism he received on ESPN's NFL Matchup. Former running back Merril Hoge said Moss had jogged or failed to run off the line on many plays this season. "That was the first time I've ever heard somebody criticize me," Moss said. "At the same time, I didn't let it get into my head, but I did think about it." Show host Suzy Kolber said Hoge analyzed Moss using the same game film coaches use.

Injury report

GARY BERRY: Packers special-teams player, tingling in arms and legs, did not return.

CHRIS COLE: Broncos WR, dislocated left shoulder, out 4-6 weeks.

TIM COUCH: Browns QB, hyperextended right knee, returned in second half.

TERRELL DAVIS: Broncos RB, aggravated left ankle sprain, status unknown.

BRAD HOPKINS: Titans OT, sprained right ankle, did not return.

RAGHIB ISMAIL: Cowboys WR, injured right calf, did not return.

TRE JOHNSON: Redskins G, knee sprain, did not return.

JAMES JONES: Lions DT, bruised knee, expected to play Sunday.

ANTONIO LANGHAM: Patriots CB, injured left leg, did not return.

DORSEY LEVENS: Packers RB, aggravated sprained left ankle, did not return.

HARDY NICKERSON: Jaguars LB, strained right hamstring, did not return.

ERIK OLSON: Jaguars S, strained groin, did not return.

CARL PICKENS: Titans WR, strained left hamstring, did not return.

ERRICT RHETT: Browns RB, sprained left foot, expected out several weeks.

RON RICE: Lions S, sprained neck, did not return.

RAY ROBERTS: Lions OT, dizziness, did not return.

JUNIOR SEAU: Chargers LB, strained left hamstring, did not return.

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