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Murdered swimming coach remembered as role model | News

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Murdered swimming coach remembered as role model

OLDSMAR, Florida -- A local swimming coach who was reportedly shot to death by his girlfriend's son is being remembered as a mentor, role model, and inspiration.

"[Kelley Allen] was the best coach I have ever had," student Ally Strasen wrote to 10 News. "He believed in me and all of his swimmers even when no one else did. He was so determined - he lived for us. He lived at the pool. Even when he had blood clots in his leg and he was told to stay off his feet, he was pacing up and down the pool, encouraging us to swim faster, stronger."

Allen was with his girlfriend, Imari Shibata, at their Oldsmar home around 1:30 on Sunday morning. The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office says Shibata's son, 18-year-old Benjamin Bishop, admitted to deputies that he entered their room at that time with a 12-gauge shotgun and shot them both to death. 

Strasen remembers and admires Allen's coaching, guidance, and encouragement.

"He made us look forward to our races, because we knew he'd be right there, following us up and down the side of the pool, yelling for us, motivating us to swim just a little bit faster," she says. "I wish more than anything I could have had one last swim with him, one last swim for him, and I truly think all of his swimmers feel that way."

On Monday, during his first appearance in court, Bishop was given no bond. The day before, he told detectives the shooting was triggered by his mother telling him on Saturday that he needed to get a job, pay rent, and take his medication. 

He had been released last month from an inpatient drug rehab program, and had been struggling with schizophrenia. 

When people stop taking medication to treat the hallucinations and delusions brought on by schizophrenia, "all the symptoms come back with a vengeance," says Dr. Gabriel de Erausquin, a neurologist and psychiatrist at USF's Psychiatry Center. "We hope that research being done at USF and other places will end up preventing this. We hope that it is going to go away."

Dr. de Erausquin says research has shown that among people suffering from schizophrenia, criminal behavior is actually less frequent than among the general population. An exception occurs when people consume drugs and alcohol, and are not receiving treatment.

According to deputies, Bishop had pawned electronics to afford to buy a shotgun, but he couldn't buy it himself because he was on probation after a charge last year of trying to strangle his mother. So he allegedly had a friend buy the gun for him, then hid it in the attic.

According to the Sheriff's Office, deputies have responded to the home several times since 2006. Allen's students are shocked to know the coach that they considered a father figure is gone.

"He made me love the sport of swimming again," student Caroline Ryals says. "He was always smiling. He gave me courage to reach higher and to try any event my heart desired. His kind heart inspired a whole generation of swimmers."


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