Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Popular teacher 'killed by pupil'

Parents and Danvers High School students hold candlelight vigil to mourn the death of Colleen Ritzer (AP/ Bizuayehu Tesfaye)

A popular teacher allegedly killed by one of her pupils had asked him to stay after school that day, a classmate said.

Pupils at the school in Danvers, Massachusetts, met grief counsellors in a bid to come to terms with the death of Colleen Ritzer, 24 .

Philip Chism, 14, has been charged with murdering the maths teacher at Danvers High School.

Rania Rhaddaoui, who sat two seats away from Chism in Ms Ritzer's algebra class, the final lesson of the school day, said Chism was drawing in a notebook rather than taking notes, on Tuesday.

"She came over and said, 'I didn't know you draw', and he said, 'yes', then later on, she said, 'Can you stay after with me?'," Rania said. "Obviously, he stayed after because when I was leaving, he was still at his desk."

She said Ms Ritzer had scheduled a test for today, but she was unsure exactly why Ms Ritzer asked Chism to stay after school.

Ms Ritzer never returned home that day. Blood in a second-floor bathroom helped lead investigators to her body, which was dumped in the woods behind the school in a close-knit community about 20 miles north of Boston.

Chism was picked up by police in the early hours of Wednesday, walking along the highway in neighbouring Topsfield.

Authorities offered no clues on Chism's alleged motive and would not say how Ms Ritzer was killed.

Carrie Kimball-Monahan, a spokeswoman for district attorney Jonathan Blodgett, said the case was still being investigated.

Chism had moved to Massachusetts from Tennessee before the start of the school year and was a top scorer on the school's junior varsity soccer team.

The manager of Hollywood Hits Theatres in Danvers said Chism went to the cinema late on Tuesday afternoon and bought a ticket to see Woody Allen's new movie Blue Jasmine and " looked like a normal, everyday customer coming in to watch a movie".

:: A Nevada city has named the 12-year-old boy believed to have killed a teacher and wounded two pupils before turning a semi-automatic handgun on himself in a rampage at his school.

Sparks officials identified the boy as Jose Reyes. Police said earlier the lone shooter was a 12-year-old boy in the seventh grade.

The city came under pressure from media organisations to provide the name after police refused, saying they wanted to respect his family.

Sparks Middle School maths teacher Michael Landsberry, 45, was fatally shot in the chest on the school campus on Monday.

AP

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz