By Jack Toomey
On the morning of Jan. 29, two groups of teenagers gathered at a community playground near Timber Rock Road and Hillstone Road at about 7:45 a.m., after the school day had started. Apparently, a prearranged fight had been scheduled and Tyler Terry, a 17-year-old football player from Quince Orchard High, began fighting another adult male. After about three minutes of mutual combat, Terry retired to the sidelines and two others began fighting. Someone noticed that Terry had collapsed and 911 was called. Responding paramedics found Terry unconscious and whisked him to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. Several youths captured the fight on their cell phones. It could not be learned why the groups were fighting.
After it was determined that Terry was in critical condition, he was flown to Children’s National Medical Center in D.C. where he was admitted. When the Major Crimes Division of the Montgomery County Police Department learned of Terry’s condition they began an investigation. On Feb. 11 the family made the decision to take him off of a life-sustaining device, and later that day Terry died. Doctors at Children’s Hospital declared that his death was due to a preexisting heart condition. No injuries from the fight were detected and no autopsy was ordered.
At the conclusion of the investigation, detectives from the Major Crimes Division will present their findings to the States Attorney’s Office to determine if any crime had been committed.
The death of Tyler Terry stunned the Quince Orchard community and outpourings of grief flooded social media. On the first school day after Terry’s death many students wore red clothing to school, as did students from rival school Northwest High. Sherwood, Paint Branch, Einstein, as well as other schools also participated in the gesture to show their support.
Quince Orchard Principal Carole Working advised the community of Terry’s death and provided counselors and psychologists for students. Football coach John Kelley said, “Tyler was a son, brother, cousin, teammate, and friend. The outpouring of support has been amazing. This is a testament on how he lived his life. We will celebrate the seventeen years that he was on this earth and never forget the special time we had with him.”
Terry was a star football player at Quince Orchard. He had signed a letter of intent to attend Monmouth University. He played linebacker and receiver.