East Bay football star killed at Butte County campground

An East Bay high-school football player was found dead at a campground in Butte County near Lake Oroville over the Fourth of July weekend, the victim of a homicide, authorities said Wednesday.

Tyler Dickson, 20, of San Pablo was found unresponsive in a tent at Bidwell Canyon Marina Campground. He was pronounced dead at the scene.  

"This is a tragic blow to everybody," said youth football coach Will Bryant. "I can't see imagine someone doing this to him." 

At 5 a.m. Saturday, Butte County sheriff's deputies responded to a 911 call reporting possible gunfire at the campground, where he had been staying with another.

Sheriff's investigators have not said how he was killed but are investigating his death as a homicide. 

"Right now, we are in the early stages of the investigation and one of those things we are investigating is the cause and manner of death," said sheriff spokeswoman's Megan McMann.

"I would like the investigators to do their job and bring whoever to justice," said Bryant, athletic director of the Richmond Steelers Youth Football and Cheer program. He's known Dickson since he was 9 years old.

"Great kid, ended up being like family, stayed with him, followed him through his high school career and onto college," Bryant said

Dickson played football at El Cerrito High and was set to do the same at Contra Costa College this year.  

"Some people have pasts, or some kids got some issues, he's that kid that didn't have none. Loved by everyone, many friends," Bryant said.

The coach remembered the day Dickson came up to him, and whispered that he wanted to be quarterback instead of an offensive lineman. Coach thought otherwise because Dickson was 6 foot 3 and 210 pounds. 

"I was like man, you can't play quarterback. We need you to block," Bryant said.

But Dickson proved him wrong. 

"When we put him in the game, he threw the ball so pretty, like I mean all the way, and the rest was history," Dickson said.

The family has set up a Gofundme to help cover costs of a "heartfelt home-going ceremony."