Newport News, Va. – Thursday morning, two Warwick High School students were shot and killed. They have been identified as 16-year-old Bryant Wilder and 17-year-old John Neives.
Detectives have arrested and charged a 17-year-old Newport News male in connection with this case. He has been charged with two counts of second degree murder and one count each of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Classes start in just a few weeks at Warwick High School, and students have to walk the halls without two of their classmates. Erica Linde, who was a teacher there for 10 years, knows that feeling all too well.
“When I heard this morning, I just felt a surge of sadness go through my body and my head just said not again,” Linde says, “I mean it’s being really rough. You know you have a student in your classroom one day and the next day they’ve been shot and killed.”
Linde taught English at Warwick for 10 years. The violence was so prevalent; she says she’d incorporate discussions about murder and suicide into her literature lessons.
“If parents aren’t going to step up and have these conversations with their students then I feel like it’s my duty to step up and have these conversations,” she says.
With year after year of empty desks in her classroom, Linde say it got to be too much.
“There have just been one to two deaths per year and it just kind of took its toll,” she says. “It took its toll on my emotional state.”
With every death, grief counselors would come in and talk with students, while faculty and staff relied on each other for help.
“We just hold the students’ hands and get them through it and you know we’re struggling as well.”
Linde decided she needed to move on from Warwick. This year she’s will teach at a charter high school in Newport News.
“It makes me sad for Warwick because they are starting out the year with such a tragedy,” Linde says. “You wish you would’ve been able to maybe reach them a little bit more but you can’t think like that.”