Television set

8-year-old boy killed by falling television set during after-school program as classmates say “No one was really watching”


8-year-old boy killed by falling television set during after-school program as classmates say “No one was really watching”

  • Colby O’Brien, 8, attended after-school school with his twin sister at Elm Street Elementary School in Gardner, Massachusetts on Thursday
  • At around 4 p.m. he was struck by a falling television
  • He was rushed to Henry Heywood Hospital but pronounced dead
  • Classmates say no one knows how the television fell

A small town in Massachusetts is in mourning over the tragic death of Colby O’Brien, who died Thursday after a television fell on him during an after-school program.

The eight-year-old was sitting with his twin sister at Elm Street Elementary School in Gardner, waiting to watch Toy Story 2 when the incident happened around 4 p.m.

While it is not known how the television fell on him, one parent described the sets used in school as “large old-fashioned boxed sets placed on large metal carts.”

One boy, Brandon Comley, who was in O’Brien’s class and after school, told the Boston Globe that no one knew how it happened.

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Tragic: Colby O’Brien has been described as gentle and calm. He died in an accident Thursday after a television fell on him during an after-school program in Gardner, Massachusetts

A police officer stands outside Elm Street Elementary School in Gardner, Massachusetts, where eight-year-old Colby O'brien died on Thursday

A police officer stands outside Elm Street Elementary School in Gardner, Massachusetts, where eight-year-old Colby O’brien died on Thursday

Mourning: Children and their parents gathered outside the school in collective mourning, installing a mural in honor of Colby

Mourning: Children and their parents gathered outside the school in collective mourning, installing a mural in honor of Colby

“No one was really watching,” the nine-year-old told The Globe.

“They just heard a bang and then saw Colby with the television above him on the floor.”

O’Brien has been described as gentle and calm who rarely spoke to anyone except his sister, who was back at school on Friday, the day after the death.

“She wasn’t talking to anyone and was sad and crying,” Brandon told The Glove.

“My whole class cried.

The Worcester District Attorney’s Office, Joseph D. Early Jr., declined to release further details on what led to Colby’s death.

School officials also declined to comment.

One parent described school televisions as

One parent described the school televisions as “old-fashioned and square” and sitting on metal stands, similar to the one seen here

Mural: A student who attended school after school with Colby O'Brien placed a copy of the Aquamarine DVD in front of the school because it was their favorite to watch

Mural: A student who attended school after school with Colby O’Brien placed a copy of the Aquamarine DVD in front of the school because it was their favorite to watch

A shrine has since been set up outside the school, which is attended by 518 children in grades 3 to 5.

Throughout the day on Friday, mourners arrived at the school in a continuous stream, placing stuffed animals, bouquets, candles and handmade cards in the snow to form the memorial.

A tragedy like this hits the whole community, ”said Shirley Atkinson, 52, who cried as she placed a teddy bear covered in hearts on the heap.

Her grandson, she said, went to summer camp with O’Brien, whom she described as a playful child.

Patricia Brown said she spent the morning crying and eventually walked to the sanctuary from her house across the street to nest a lime green monkey with the other stuffed animals.

Elm Street Elementary School is attended by 518 children

Elm Street Elementary School is attended by 518 children

“Nothing has ever happened like this in Gardner before,” she said.

“He was only 8 years old.”

A crime scene was established at the school Thursday evening and a full investigation is expected to take place.

Some parents got together and started a fundraiser for O’Brien’s mother, Jolene, on the Go Fund Me website.

As of Saturday, he had received $ 6,745 in donations.


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