, Salem, MA

Local News

December 31, 2013

Tragedy and hope in 2013

Top stories of the year a mix of highs and lows


Stabbing sends Salem State into lockdown

Salem State University went into lockdown Sept. 25 after a double stabbing on a college shuttle bus.

Police swarmed the campus that Wednesday while students and staff sheltered in place inside buildings. After a few hours and no sign of the suspect, the lockdown was lifted. Later that day, a former student was arrested in upstate New York after his car broke down.

Timothy G. Wells, 25, of Woburn, a Salem State student on voluntary leave, was indicted last month on two counts of attempted murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Witnesses told police that the suspect rode several loops around campus on the shuttle before stabbing a female passenger for no apparent reason. The bus driver was stabbed when he tried to intervene, police said. Both injuries were minor, police said.

Salem police said they had been involved with Wells before this incident, arresting him in early September for trespassing at a city field. In that case, a therapist issued a mental health order, fearing Wells would harm himself, police said.

Wells’ next court date is Jan. 10.

Danvers teacher slain

Oct. 22 was seemingly a typical fall afternoon at Danvers High School, with students playing on brand-new athletic fields or getting extra help with coursework.

But within hours, two families were frantically searching for their children — 14-year old student Philip Chism and 24-year-old math teacher Colleen Ritzer. Then came the horrific discoveries, one by one. Ritzer’s car, cold and dark, in the parking lot. Blood in a second-floor bathroom. And then, Ritzer’s body, partially covered in leaves and debris, in woods next to the school.

Next to her body was a note: “I hate you all.” Prosecutors say that note was left by Chism, who is charged with brutally killing, raping and robbing the popular young teacher.

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