Sam Gringlas

The day was going to be perfect.

Alex figured he would wake up at 6:30 a.m., help get his little brothers up and off to school and catch the bus by 7. After school, the 14-year-old would do something he had been looking forward to for weeks — play in his first football game.

He would get to put on the team jersey — purple, with a camouflage print collar. And most importantly, his dad, Manuel, would be there, cheering from the sidelines.

Instead, Alex woke up to his mom screaming and crying outside his bedroom door.