Updated: June 16, 5:42 p.m.
Keith Hadnot grew up in Milpitas and met his wife in the same neighborhood where both of their families still live in today. They were raising five kids, including a pair of 1-year-old twins, in Union City when tragedy struck.
A ended Hadnot's life at age 34 when he became Union City's third homicide of the year. He was on the street near his home when it happened.
"I just can't figure out why bad things happen to good people," said his mother Angela Flunoy-Armon, a Milpitas resident. "We lost a good angel, I just want people to know."
Hadnot was described by many as a compassionate and cheerful father, brother and friend.
“He was a good spirit, a good soul, a good man,” Irlanda Hadnot said. “He always made me laugh. Every day of my life, he told me he loved me.”
Hadnot and his wife have known each other since childhood. Though the two went separate ways after high school, they reunited seven years ago and had three children together, a three-year-old boy and one-year-old twins. Hadnot, who was nicknamed “Bear,” was also a loving father to two children, ages 10 and 12, from Irlanda’s previous marriage.
After news of the incident, Irlanda posted a note on Facebook, mourning the loss of her husband and "best friend."
"I feel so lost. I miss your touch, your laugh, your kisses," she wrote. "I promise you that our kids will grow up to know all about their daddy and everyday [I'll] tell them how much you loved them."
Both Hadnot and his wife graduated from Milpitas High in 1995. During his time in school, he excelled at sports.
"He played football, baseball, and basketball. He did it all," said his mother. He went on to play football at San Jose City College until an injury in the first or second year, she said.
In high school, Hadnot was always in a great mood, fun to coach and had a lot of talent, Hadnot’s varsity football coach Kelly King said.
In the 1994 season, Hadnot, a wide receiver made the all-league football team, joining teammates Lenzie Jackson, Deltha O'Neal and Charles Scott.
"It's just a sad day today," said King on Wednesday evening. "He'll be missed. He touched our lives and our hearts."
Milpitas High alum Ralph Fields said many of his basketball teammates were at the house of Hadnot's mother in Milpitas. Fields, now a basketball coach at Amador Valley High School, played with Hadnot under the direction of Coach Steve Cain.
"He was our starting center," Fields said. "He was a great teammate on the court and off. He was always there in sports to support us. He was the anchor to our team in a lot of ways."
Fields said he had just spoken on the phone with Hadnot not too long ago.
"You could not see him for a week or a month," he said, then catch up "and feel like you just saw him yesterday."
Rancho Middle School Assistant Principal Tony Frascone, who graduated in the same high school class as Hadnot, said he would often see him at school sports functions to cheer on his step-siblings.
It was family first for him, said uncle Kevin Haddnot.
"He was family oriented. Loves being around family. Loves being around kids," he said.
Hadnot was most recently a stay-at-home dad. "He was raising them [his three children] up to be good people," said his uncle Kevin Hadnot.
He also had dreams of starting a restaurant, something his father had wanted before he died of a heart attack in recent years.
His passing is "something that happened way too soon," Kevin Hadnot said.
He is survived by his wife, Irlanda, their children Mario, Teddy, Keith Jr., Viviana and Tristian, and his three siblings.
A viewing will be held at 9 a.m. on Sat., June 25 at Fremont Memorial Chapel (3723 Peralta Blvd. in Fremont), followed immediately by a funeral and reception.