(DANVERS, Mass.) — Philip Chism, the Massachusetts teenager who allegedly stabbed his teacher to death, was just starting to make friends at Danvers High School.
After a recent move with his family from Tennessee, Chism, 14, joined the junior varsity soccer team at the school.
“He just moved here so he didn’t have like a huge group of friends. But soccer’s one big family so we all knew him, we all liked him,” student Ryan Kelleher told ABC News.
Despite his towering presence at 6-foot-2, teammates said Chism “just kept to himself” at soccer practice every day.
“[There was] nothing really bad about him. He wasn’t a mean kid, did fine,” Kyle Cahill, another player on the soccer team, said. “[This] just came out of the blue. [It’s] just surreal and surprising to me.”
Chism was initially reported missing on Tuesday, and members of the school soccer team said they quickly banded together to look for their teammate.
Cahill said they wondered if the new kid in town had simply got lost going home “because he doesn’t know his way around.”
“We just went out looking for him…just [to] see if he was anywhere we could try and find him,” Cahill said.
Police said Chism was found Tuesday night in a neighboring community.
When students learned school was closed Wednesday, they worried the 14-year-old had been abducted.
Chris Weimert, another student at Danvers High School, said students knew something serious had happened when rumors of a homicide began to spread around town.
“That’s when everything spiraled out of control. Twitter blew up,” he said.
Chism, who is being charged as an adult, was booked into jail at 5:33 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to a copy of the booking sheet obtained by ABC News.
The teen remained silent during his first court appearance Wednesday where he was charged with murdering Colleen Ritzer, 24, who taught math at Danvers High School. He was dressed in a white jail jump suit and exhibited little emotion.
The boy’s lawyer put her hand on Chism’s back and told the judge “he’s only 14,” but the judge replied that it was an “adult court and an adult proceeding.”
Chism’s teammates said they’d never expect the quiet new kid would allegedly commit such a grisly crime, but it’s also something they never thought would happen in their tightknit Massachusetts town.
“I mean, we’re such a quiet town. [I’d] never expect [something] this big to happen right at the high school, inside the high school,” Weimert said. “It’s crazy.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Ahiza Garcia, CNN
Ashley Fantz, Faith Karimi and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
Kelsey Schwab, Deseret News