TODAY   |  October 24, 2013

Hundreds gather at vigil for murdered Mass. teacher

Colleen Ritzer, a 24-year-old Danvers, Mass. high school teacher who was found dead Wednesday, is being remembered as an inspirational educator who loved teaching math. 14-year-old Danvers High freshman Phillip Chism is being charged with her murder. NBC’s Ron Allen reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> let us begin with a tragic murder of a popular teacher in massachusetts and the 14-year-old now in police custody . ron allen has the latest on this. good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning to you, matt. yeah, there are no classes at danvers high. the teacher's body was found on the edge of the school ground in those woods over there and the freshman student now in custody has been charged with her murder. hundreds came together for a candlelight village at danvers high last night to remember 24-year-old colleen ritzer, a beloved math teacher, now suddenly gone.

>> she cared about all of her students equally. it's a shame.

>> she was a great teacher.

>> the boston red sox also honored ritzer with a moment of silence before last night's world series game at fenway. 14-year-old philip gibbon has been charged with her murder t. criminal complaint says he was arrested after being interviewed and based on video under surveillance footage recovered at the school. no motive has been given.

>> she was always making everyone else's day better than hers.

>> reporter: ritzer's personality shined through describing herself as a math teacher often too excited about the topics i'm teaching.

>> she was a young girl with the whole world ahead of her, to be taken so suddenly, it's awful.

>> reporter: she still lived with her parents near andover, on pinterest, she highlighted a gel to have a did you tell us and name her after my grandmother.

>> she's an inspirational leader. she made such an impact on so many students' lives.

>> reporter: she displayed her quote prominently, from boston area poet ralph emmertonson, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, that is to have succeed. there was a vigil last night. this town is absolutely devastated. as for the student charged in the murder, he is held without bail, the courts are treating him as an adult