Jed McGlasson's arrest on alleged charges of felony murder in Wisconsin for the death of Bradley Simon, a fellow University of Wisconsin-Stout student, has come as a shock to his friends, family, former teammates and coaches.
Barbara Schuerger, McGlasson's grandmother who lives in Kasilof, said his parents, Michelle and Rick, flew down to Wisconsin to be with him on Thursday. She said the whole family had been praying for Simon to come out of the coma before he died Thursday.
"I feel terrible for his family but I don't think this was a malicious act, it was a bunch of stupid kids being drunk, it has nothing to do with maliciousness," she said.
Calling the whole incident "freakish," Schuerger said it's the most horrible thing that could happen.
"It's a nightmare, a total nightmare," she said.
McGlasson had never been in trouble, Schuerger said.
"He was an honors student," she said. "He helped everybody."
Ken Felchle, a Kenai Middle School teacher who taught McGlasson and coached him in high school track, spoke to his character.
"Jed was one of those kids that when he came back to a practice people would light up because the positive influence he left on our school and community," Felchle said. "He's as good of a student, an athlete and high school kid that we've had."
He said learning the news about McGlasson has been "very difficult, simply because of the quality of individual Jed was and still is."
"It's just the whole situation is a horrible thing," he said. "It is one of the most disheartening things that myself and other colleagues, teachers and coaches have probably had to deal with in 10 to 15 years."
Felchle said he's experiencing a range of emotions right now and "thinking of the young man that lost his life as well."
"I don't know how many things we did at that age and nothing like that happened," he said.
"It definitely put a knot in my stomach to see a friend, a brother and a teammate to be in trouble like that," said Kyle Coleman, a 22-year-old Kenai resident who used to play hockey with McGlasson.
Coleman said that McGlasson was always the calm, steady rock on the hockey team and was more of a friend than a teammate to every player.
"He is such a great guy that's basically it in a nutshell," he said. "There was no one that ever had a problem with Jed."
It's a bad situation that could have happened to anyone, he said.
McGlasson "wouldn't intend to harm someone to the extent of death, of course not," Coleman said.
Friends and family have set up a legal defense fund for McGlasson at Wells Fargo. Donations can be made to account number 1689701199.
Brielle Schaeffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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