Tyler Terry, a 17-year-old who attended Quince Orchard High and played on its football team, died Sunday following a cardiac arrest that left him hospitalized Jan. 29. Terry had been on life support for close to two weeks after an altercation that day, and his parents decided toward the end of last week to remove him from life support.
Police are investigating the death and a fight Terry was involved in before collapsing and being hospitalized, the Montgomery County Police Department confirmed in a statement Monday.
A series of events Jan. 29, which preceded Terry’s hospitalization, prompted a police investigation. As of Monday, no criminal charges had been filed. And a description of what detectives learned, provided Monday by police officials, indicated there may never be charges filed.
Terry had been involved in a fight several blocks from the school that produced “minimal physical contact,” according to police. He walked away, police believe, and moments later collapsed.
Terry was taken to nearby Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, then transferred to Children’s National Medical Center in the District. Doctors there learned he had a preexisting medical condition. No autopsy was performed, the officials said.
They said their detectives will consult with prosecutors at the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office to determine whether criminal charges are warranted.
“This is a tragedy,” said Capt. Paul Starks, a Montgomery County Police Department spokesman. “It’s tragic for Tyler and for his family and for everyone who loved him.”
Terry was in his senior year at Quince Orchard in Gaithersburg. He had signed a letter of intent in December to play football at Monmouth University.
In a letter sent to Quince Orchard families Sunday, Principal Carole A. Working wrote that a team of psychologists, a counselor and pupil personnel workers would be available at the school Monday to “provide counseling and support to students as needed.” No funeral arrangements had been made public as of Monday evening.
The morning of Jan. 29, just before 8 a.m., paramedics and police were called about a teenager who appeared to be in cardiac arrest near a community basketball court, several blocks from Quince Orchard High. Detectives who conduct death investigations and homicide investigations also were called to the scene. They learned that two groups had come together at the basketball court with the intention of fighting.
Three fights would occur. Terry, from one group, and a person from another group fought first.
“The fight between Terry and the other male involved minimal physical contact,” police said in a statement. “After approximately two to three minutes of fighting, Terry stopped fighting and walked away from his opponent, appearing as if he were tired.”
The next fights lasted five to 10 minutes, according to police. During the third fight between two other individuals, “Terry collapsed on the ground and became unconscious,” police said. Several witnesses captured the three fights and Terry’s collapse on cellphone videos.
“Tests were conducted to determine if Terry sustained any injury during the fight,” police said. “No injury was detected.”
Medical staff determined Terry had suffered a “cardiac event” and confirmed the preexisting condition. “It was determined that no autopsy would be conducted as the preexisting condition had been identified,” police said.
Friends of Terry’s mourned his death on Twitter, including his teammates and coaches from Quince Orchard and Monmouth. Terry played linebacker and tight end for Quince Orchard, helping it to a 12-2 record in 2017.
Samantha Pell contributed to this report.