Montgomery County Police are working with the State’s Attorney’s Office to determine if criminal charges are warranted in the death of a 17-year-old Quince Orchard High School student who collapsed after a planned physical fight at a Gaithersburg basketball court last month.
Tyler Steven Terry of Gaithersburg died Sunday, Feb. 11 after a nearly two-week hospitalization stemming from a “cardiac event” he experienced after participating in a fight the morning of Monday, Jan. 29.
Police say two groups of individuals – including Terry – met at a basketball court near Hillstone Road and Timber Rock Road in Gaithersburg with the intention of fighting.
Witnesses called 911 when Terry collapsed several minutes after his participation in the first fight with a male from the opposing group that lasted approximately two to three minutes, according to a Feb. 12 Montgomery County Police press release.
“While the third fight was occurring, Terry collapsed on the ground and became unconscious,” the MCP report stated.
Police determined that the fight between Terry and the other male involved minimal physical contact and that Terry stopped fighting and walked away from his opponent, appearing to be tired.
According to police, Terry had a pre-existing physical condition, but they would not identify what it was.
A description on a GoFundMe account started by friends of Terry’s family offered an explanation, stating that his heart “went into an arrhythmia and stopped,” sometime after he arrived at Quince Orchard High School the morning of Jan. 29.
“Tests were conducted to determine if Terry sustained any injury during the fight; no injury was detected,” police stated. “Medical personnel determined that Terry had suffered a cardiac event and confirmed the presence of a pre-existing medical condition.”
Terry was first transported to Adventist Health Care Shady Grove Medical Center before being flown to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he remained in the Intensive Care Unit until his death Sunday.
A member of the Quince Orchard High School football team, Terry signed a letter of intent to play football at Monmouth University in New Jersey next year.
“The thoughts and prayers of the Monmouth Football Family go out to the Terry Family during this very difficult time,” said Monmouth University head coach Kevin Callahan, in a press release. “Words cannot express the sorrow that we feel for their loss. We are proud to say that Tyler will always be a Monmouth Hawk.”
Quince Orchard High School Principal Carole A. Working sent a letter to the high school community on Feb. 11 offering condolences.
“For those of you who knew Tyler, we ask that you remember and celebrate his passion for football, his love of his family and friends, and his great big infectious smile. For those of you who did not know him, we ask that you support Tyler’s friends and family during this time of loss,” an excerpt from the letter stated.
A spokesman from the Montgomery County State’s Attorney Office said it is hard to tell when a decision will be rendered about potential charges.