A former Clarksville student is being held without bond after he allegedly killed his math teacher inside a Massachusetts high school Tuesday.
Philip Chism, 14, reportedly used a box cutter to kill Colleen Ritzer in a bathroom at Danvers High School in Danvers, north of Boston.
A source close to the investigation told CNN that Chism brought the box cutter to school with him. After killing Ritzer, the source said, Chism allegedly rolled her body out of the building in a recycling bin and dumped her in the woods nearby.
Classmate Rania Rhaddaoui sat two seats away from Chism in Algebra I class and said he was drawing in a notebook rather than taking notes Tuesday.
She says she heard Ritzer ask Chism to stay after class, the last period of the school day.
When she and other students left, she saw Chism still sitting in his chair.
Ritzer never returned home that day. Her body was found in the woods behind the school Wednesday morning.
Chism, who was reported missing Tuesday after he didn’t return home, was picked up walking along a road.
A motive for the teacher’s murder was not immediately known. Ritzer was just 24 years old.
“She had the whole world ahead of her and to be taken so tragically is awful,” Ritzer’s uncle Peter Martellucci said.
Chism’s uncle, Terrance Chism Blaine, who lives in Clarksville, was baffled when he first learned of the murder.
“You know, you never imagine something like this could happen. I thought it was a prank call when it first happened. [He was] such a good kid,” he told News 2.
The only explanation Blaine, who plans to go to Massachusetts in upcoming days, could offer was that Chism just “snapped.”
“[He] might have been upset, you know teenagers go through that. He’s 14, growing up still. That’s the only thing that I can imagine. That’s the only think that I can imagine because I can’t imagine anything else. It’s like a story-book kid. Perfect family,” he offered.
Students who knew Chism were also shocked by the devastating news.
“I think it’s insane. I was completely shocked. I wouldn’t think Philip would be the type of person to do this,” one student told ABC News.
Elise Shelton, spokesperson for Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools, told News 2 Chism attended fourth grade at Burt Elementary School, but left to attend fifth grade in Boca Raton, Florida.
He returned to Clarksville the following year and attended sixth, seventh and eighth grades at Rossview Middle School.
Locally, parents were also shocked.
“It makes me want to cry, honey. That is terrible,” parent Machelle Barrington told News 2.
Chism was a freshman at Danvers High School and played on the school’s junior varsity soccer team.
He was silent as he was arraigned in adult court on murder charges Wednesday morning. His mother, Diana Chism, who formerly worked at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, was photographed by the Boston Globe following the arraignment.
Philip Chism is next scheduled to appear in court November 22.
Ritzer was honored with a moment of silence before the first game of the World Series at Fenway Park in Boston.