Waltham teenager slain outside apartment complex

WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) — A popular 17-year-old Waltham High School student was fatally shot at a Waltham apartment complex, and authorities said it is not considered a random attack.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan identified the boy as Tyler Zanco, a high school senior who was co-captain of the school’s wrestling team.

Ryan said police responded to reports of shots fired at the Gardencrest Apartments complex just after 10 p.m. Thursday and discovered Zanco in a parking lot with a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.

Ryan said authorities do not believe it was a random attack.

Andy Merritt, who mentored Zanco through a school program that connects students with business leaders, said Zanco was a funny, personable young man who “seemed to make friends with everybody.”

He also was determined and tough, and talked about joining the military, said Merritt, the former editor of the Waltham News Tribune.

“He was kind of in the process of trying to figure out what he wanted to do after high school. … One week, it would be Army ranger, the next week it was Navy Seal. He could have done any one of them,” Merritt said.

Waltham School Superintendent Susan Nicholson said school adjustment counselors, guidance counselors and outside support personnel were made available to help students and staff. The high school will be open Saturday so students and families can meet with support personnel.

“Staff and students at Waltham High School and in the district mourn the profound loss of a member of our high school. As a school community, we have to come together to support one another during this difficult time,” Nicholson said in a statement.

MCAS testing was postponed Friday after school officials learned of Zanco’s death. The tests will be re-scheduled late next week.

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