News4's Chris Gordon talks with family and friends of Bennett Rill, who was electrocuted on the roof of Fox Mill Elementary School.
The family of the 14-year-old boy killed on the roof of a Herndon elementary school is planning a vigil in his memory.
Bennett Rill was electrocuted Tuesday night after he accidentally came into contact with a live wire on the roof of Fox Mill Elementary School, located in 2611 Viking Drive.
The details surrounding the incident remain sparse, but a witness told News4's Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver she saw several kids climbing the roof of either the school or a shed nearby.
Police are trying to determine what the boys were doing on the roof of the school but say it doesn't appear they were trying to enter.
Rill's father, Derick Rill, said police told him the boys were climbing a fence and used the wire as leverage to get onto the roof. He says Bennett went to help a teen who had fallen when he got tangled in the wire.
Rill said his son finished the eighth grade at Rachel Carson Middle School Tuesday, adding he couldn't have asked for a better son.
"Yesterday was really rough," Derick Rill said. "Maybe he could've made a better choice, but in terms of what he did with his life, I couldn't be prouder."
"I think right now we can share the happiness of the life we had with him and the memory," James Rill, Bennett's grandfather said. "I think now we need some time alone to be alone and at peace with ourselves."
Two other 14-year-olds and a 15-year-old were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
Details on the vigil are not available at this time.
The principal at Rachel Carson Middle School sent this letter home to parents Wednesday:
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I am greatly saddened to report that a student of ours – Bennett Rill – died last night in the tragic accident that occurred at Fox Mill Elementary. Bennett had just completed 8th grade at Carson Middle School. He was an excellent student and well liked by all who knew him and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with the Rill family during this extremely difficult time. Three other boys were injured in the incident and two of them are also Carson students.
As I mentioned in a previous communication, we have initiated support from the FCPS Crisis Response team to provide students, parents, and staff with information that would help them to cope with their feelings of sadness and grief. Special counseling services are being made available to anyone who may be impacted and will continue to be available throughout the week.
A sudden death like this can have an effect on students. For that reason, we hope that you will listen to your son or daughter as well as discuss with them their feelings and reactions to this tragedy. We are taking every step we can to be responsive to the needs of our students and their families. Keep us informed if there are ways we can support you.
On behalf of all members of the school staff and students, we extend our deepest condolences to the Rill family and their friends. My thanks to all who have expressed their genuine concern for the family and for your continued support of Carson Middle School.