Former Football Star Shot to Death

Times Staff Writer

DeAndre Belin, a former football star who struggled to turn his high school success into a college career, was shot to death Monday night inside his Ontario mobile home.

Ontario police said the assailant escaped, probably in a dark-colored, late-model Honda that was seen fleeing Webb’s Mobile Park in the 600 block of West Brooks Street about 7 p.m. Monday.

Witnesses inside the mobile home with Belin, 21, told police they heard a loud bang at the sliding glass door. Belin went to investigate, opened the door and was shot at least twice in the upper torso, police said. He was pronounced dead minutes later at San Antonio Community Hospital in Upland.


Belin’s killing occurred less than three months after his 12-year-old brother, Brandon Wallace, was stabbed to death outside a house party in Pomona on July 25.

Ontario Police spokesman David McBride said investigators had not determined a motive for Belin’s killing.

Outside the trailer Tuesday morning, his girlfriend, Anna Desiderato, 19, stood crying. The couple have a 1-month-old daughter.

“I don’t know of anything he was involved in that would lead to this,” Desiderato said. Belin also is survived by a 5-year-old son from another woman, Desiderato said.

Belin made a mark as a running back for both Bonita High School in La Verne -- where he led the team to a CIF football championship as a junior in 1999 -- and Alta Loma High School, where he transferred the following year.

Nicknamed “Tank,” the 6-foot, 220-pound Belin rushed for 1,943 yards and 27 touchdowns at Alta Loma, including a 416-yard, six-touchdown effort against Glendora. He was the all-time leading rusher in the Inland Valley when he left high school.


“What an immense talent he was -- truly a man among boys,” said Brett Proctor, Alta Loma High School athletic director. “He was a physical specimen, blessed with size, speed and good moves.”

Tom Mitchell, who coached Belin at Alta Loma, said Belin “was one of the great ones, with incredible speed and incredible talent.”

Belin failed to capitalize on his success in high school, however. He quit a few months before graduation in 2001, passing up a possible scholarship offer from Cal State Fresno, Mitchell said.

And at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Belin “became real frustrated that he wasn’t getting the yards he was getting in high school,” Coach Bill Fisk said. “Around midseason, in the Pasadena game, he just quit the team at halftime -- walked right out of there.”

Fisk said Belin, a special education student with a learning disability his teachers declined to describe, struggled to attend classes and play football “with a lot of baggage at home. He wasn’t getting a lot of help raising his 2-year-old boy; he was living in a real bad area of Pomona then ... there were just a lot of things in his life pulling him away from football.”

Belin returned to Mt. San Antonio College in 2002 but had an injured shoulder and knee and ultimately was declared medically unable to play. He then entered Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., but quit the team after one game.


“He was missing classes,” Fisk said. “In college, you’ve got to take care of things on your own. We all tried to help him get to the next level. We tried to better his life. He’d do OK for a few weeks, but then he’d struggle as he was being pulled by his adult baggage. He was a good kid. He really wanted to go to college. But he needed more support.”

Desiderato said Belin never stopped loving football, playing in a local semipro league game Saturday and telling her of his plans to enroll at a local college in January.

“He had the college pamphlets all stacked up, ready to pick one,” Desiderato said. “He wanted to play again. He loved playing.”