Stoughton — Nearly 300 people gathered at St. James Catholic Church Sunday night to remember 17-year-old David Wade, a sweet, goofy young man with a fierce streak of originality and a passion for football, who was shot and killed on Saturday afternoon by his older brother.
“He was one of the nicest kids I know,” said Malachi Baugh, 16, a junior at Stoughton High School and Wade’s teammate on the varsity football team. Wade, said Baugh, had trained hard all summer to earn a starting position on the team. For the first time, Wade was getting great playing time as a defensive tackle.
“He would have had a great year,” said Baugh. “The year of his life.”
Wade was shot once in the chest by his 21-year-old brother in the basement of their Stoughton home, just a mile from where his friends came to pray for his family on Sunday. Wade’s brother had only recently received his firearms license, according to Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey, and the gun belonged to a family member.
No charges have been filed in the shooting, which is still under investigation. Police said they have not ruled out that the shooting may have been an accident, according to David Traub, spokesman for the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office.
Reverend John Kelly, who said the Sunday evening Mass, said Wade’s family is in seclusion. They did not attend the Mass, and requested, through Kelly, that a proposed candlelight vigil be postponed.
A person who answered the phone at the Wade residence declined to speak with a reporter.
Before Sunday’s mass, Wade’s friends stood in tight groups, hugging and crying. Many wore team jackets.
“This is the time and place where you need to be, in God’s house,” Kelly told them during the Mass. As Wade’s friends, he told them, they must promise to be there for each other. “This is what we do. This is what we need to be as a faith-filled community.”
Instead of going out tonight, he told them, go home and be with family.
“Your moms and your dads need you,” he said.
Wade was a three-sport athlete, his friends said – a football player, a member of the track team, and a cheerleader.
“He was not afraid to go against the tide,” said Brendan Malley, 18, who played football last year with Wade. Malley is now a freshman at Bridgewater State. “He had the guts to stick with [cheerleading], even if people gave him grief for it.”
Wade’s 21-year-old brother, who police have not named, was a cheerleader too, said 17-year-old Callie Concannon, who said she met Wade during their freshman year, when they were stunt partners on the cheerleading team. He would anchor their tricks, tossing her high up in the air.
“I always felt safe with him,” she said.
Wade could always make her laugh, she said, no matter what was going on. He was, she said, the “spitting image” of his 21-year-old brother, and the two were always together.
“They looked alike, they acted alike,” Concannon said.
“I know people are going to blame [his brother] for this, especially those who don’t know him, but he’s honestly a good person,” she said, as she started to cry. “He’s going to have a really hard time with this. Pray for him, too. He has to deal with something no one can ever imagine.”Kathleen Burge of the Globe staff contributed to this story. Evan Allen can be reached at email@example.com.