Thoughts from a friend of mine who knew and trained with Kevin Phelps. My heart goes out to his friends and family. There is a Go Fund me account set up for his daughters if you would like to donate.
I can tell you we called him reaper, for obvious reasons. He was a monster purple belt with 4 stripes, his last one given to him the day he was murdered. I first became acquainted with Reaper over fb, as many people in our community do! We joked around, and then we met on the mats at Triton BJJ in 2013. This dude was so hardcore. I remember feeling intimidated!! He choked me and my jaw popped out lol, then the next roll, he popped it back in! We laughed about it. I started dating someone who was incredibly close friends with him. And it was funny to get to watch the wolf pack group texts become inside jokes for all of us. We often went out to eat as a group and told stories after tournaments. He helped me move all of my heavy stuff out of my apartment and into my boyfriend’s apartment up 4 flights of stairs in the heat after hours of open mat with nothing but a big smile on his face. He was a solid training partner. But more importantly he was a veteran of two tours in Afghanistan. He was really proud of that. He referred to himself as a grunt and no one could stop him! He had a hard time adjusting to civilian life and often dealt with that by finding refuge in jiu jitsu. He came home from overseas to take care of his three daughters. He took care of them full time and also got them into jiu jitsu. He became the kids coach and coached the kiddos for a long time. He was very active in the community of bjj, his church, and the veteran based outreach groups.
The man was a helper. A man who would do anything to make you smile. A true servant of the world who dealt with his demons through asking for help from his friends. He was never alone until the night he was murdered and I think that’s what hurts the most. If we could have been there. Idk. I wish we could have stopped it somehow. We are all a family. A big, close, family.