Friends express shock, sadness for Greenwich High junior killed by Metro-North train
Updated 4:09 pm, Tuesday, June 20, 2017
GREENWICH — Friends and acquaintances of a Greenwich High School junior struck and killed by a Metro-North train near the Cos Cob station over the weekend expressed shock and sadness about his death when they returned to school on Monday.
Law-enforcement authorities at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are handling the probe into the fatal collision, which was continuing Monday.
Outside Greenwich High School on Monday, classmates described the victim as a good-hearted, creative and funny young man.
“It’s crazy,” said a friend, Hayden Sherr, 16.
Zahir Mahea, 16, did volunteer work with the student.
“He volunteered to help people — the homeless, kids who weren’t in a good position,” Mahea said.
The death of the high school student came as a blow to the school community, Mahea said. “I just saw him on Friday,” he said. “I’m kind of shocked. It took us all by surprise.”
Greenwich Public Schools, Greenwich Police and Metro-North also withheld the identity of the student, though the name was apparent to the high-school community.
A woman at the student’s house in Cos Cob declined comment Monday afternoon.
A small memorial was created at the train station in memory of the young man on Monday.
The school district released the following statement:
“We were saddened to learn yesterday of the untimely death of one of our Greenwich High School students from the Class of 2018,” said Sal Corda, interim superintendent of Greenwich Public Schools. “Headmaster Chris Winters convened the GHS crisis team at the high school on Sunday to coordinate support for the family and our students and staff.”
Winters said Greenwich High is grieving the tragic loss.
“Our hearts go out to the student’s family and friends,” said Winters on Monday. “We notified students and parents of this tragedy on Sunday afternoon, and advised them that our mental health staff will be available all day today to assist any student or family that may need support. Students were also advised that if they feel unable to take a final exam to meet with his/her guidance counselor to discuss options. Decisions about deferring final exams will be handled on a case-by-case basis."
Metro-North spokesman Aaron Donovan said Monday the MTA Police did not have a preliminary conclusion why the youth was on the tracks at that hour.
Such fatal encounters have varied in frequency over the years on Metro-North’s territory.
Last month, Dennis Ryan Jr., 23 of Branford, was struck and killed by an Acela train in Branford around 2:30 the afternoon of May 16 near North Harbor and Bridge streets along the tracks.
That strike was out of Metro-North territory on Shore Line East, which is operated by the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
A 28-year-old Stamford woman, Tamar A. Louis, was struck and killed by a New Haven express train at Cos Cob station on Aug. 7, 2015, when she jumped down to retrieve a handbag that had fallen onto the tracks. Investigators later concluded that Louis dropped her purse onto the tracks before jumping onto the rails into the path of the train. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner later ruled her death a suicide.