Honor student wounded in Fort Worth shooting dies




Posted on April 12, 2010 at 6:44 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 13 at 11:44 PM

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FORT WORTH — Eric Jon Forrester, the Southwest High School honor student who was shot in the head by intruders in his own home, has died, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office.

The office listed his death at 10:18 a.m. Tuesday.

Fort Worth police said Tuesday evening they are talking with witnesses and working on some very specific leads, but there have been no arrests. Patrol officers spent much of the day knocking on doors at nearby apartment complexes.

Investigators were mum on specific information about the two suspects.

Eric's high school swim coach, Eric Robinson, called him "a phenomenal young man of high integrity."

The 17-year-old was with his 21-year-old sister when they went to their home in the 6400 block of Poco Court to have lunch together at around 1:30 p.m. Monday, police said.

"They walked into the back yard and through the back door," said Sgt. Chad Mahaffey, a Fort Worth police spokesman. "They apparently interrupted some intruders that were already in the home. The sister ran out the back door and hid. She re-entered the home and discovered her brother had been shot — apparently in the head — and was lying in the kitchen."

Eric had been in critical condition at John Peter Smith Hospital before he was pronounced dead.

Deep grief has settled over Southwest High School, where the senior was a popular honor student, one of the best cello players in the school's orchestra, and a leader of the swim team.

"It's unfair, but you just pull it together and just be there for one another," Coach Robinson said.

Students were met on campus Tuesday morning by counselors, but it was still tough for them to see Eric's empty desk, knowing they will never see him at swim meets or orchestra rehearsal again.

"He's a really good person. It didn't matter who you were, he was always nice to you. It's really sad," said a friend, Bradley Maples, who played baseball and shared an English class with Forrester. "I've just been praying, hoping, that's all I can do."

"It's going to be a sad day today. It's going to be all quiet," said Justin McKnight, a classmate.

"Everyone loved him," added Ezequiel Medina, who plays in the school orchestra. "He was good-hearted and he made good choices."

A memorial service is planned for Eric on Wednesday, but details are not being made public; it is only for friends and family members.

Southwest High School has already lost four students this year.

"It just hurts everybody because my daughter has lost three people in her class within the last several months," said one mother.

Residents are more than a little unnerved. "It's scary," said Mike Erickson. "I'm going to have to change some things around here, I guess, security-wise, because you just never know nowadays."

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com, jwhitely@wfaa.com, jbetz@wfaa.com and cnorton@wfaa.com