Danvers murder suspect well-liked by teammates
DANVERS, Mass. (WHDH) -- Philip Chism lived near the high school. By all accounts he was a standout soccer player and made friends easily. His teammates were shocked to hear he was responsible for the death of a beloved teacher.
“I was just shocked. I just saw this kid yesterday, he's always been nice to me,” said T.J. Deinstadt.
Although he was new in town, Chism made many friends with his fellow soccer players.
“He was a very outgoing kid, very confident. He came in, he just settled right in,” said a teammate.
T.J. Deinstadt walked to class with Philip Chism on Tuesday.
“He had a smile and high fived me when I saw him, he seemed normal,” said Deinstadt.
Police say Chism would murder teacher Colleen Ritzer just hours later.
Chism moved to Danvers from Tennessee last summer. The first sign of trouble came Tuesday afternoon when he failed to show up to soccer practice. His fellow players heard he had been reported missing.
“You hear one of your soccer teammates is missing and you're just awestruck. I mean, I wasn't out looking for him but I was just praying he'd come home and be safe,” said teammate Stelio Vatousios.
Chism's teammates then had to deal with the shock of seeing him stand before a judge accused of murder. Many of the teammates had Ms. Ritzer a teacher and regarded her as one of their favorites.
“I woke up and I heard there was a homicide investigation and my first thought was that he was the one who was murdered and I just can't believe he was named as the aggressor,” said teammate Collin Butler.
Along with the shock and grief are so many questions.
“We just know Phil for who we thought he was and that was it. We understand something happened and we mourn for Ms. Ritzer,” said Vatousios.
Chism is being held without bail for the murder of 24-year-old Colleen Ritzer.