The first few hours of St. Patrick's Day quickly devolved into tragedy after a Sterling homeowner shot and killed a Park View High School student in the early hours of March 17.
According to reports from the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, the incident occurred around 2:30 a.m., when 16-year-old Caleb Gordley entered a neighbor's home on the 45900 block of Pullman Court in Sterling mistakenly thinking it was his own home.
The resident was alerted by a house alarm and discovered Gordley on the stairwell. Gordley was killed at the scene.
Gordely's father took to Twitter to explain that the younger Gordley had sneaked out earlier in the evening to go to a party, where the teen reportedly drank alcohol. Later, a friend helped him hop the fence and climb through a window to what they thought was the Gordley residence.
“Caleb climbed through an UNLOCKED window and staggered up the staircase that is identical to mine,” the elder Gordley said on Twitter.
Sheriff Mike Chapman confirmed the account of events at a press conference March 19 in Sterling.
“There doesn't seem to be any indication at this point that Caleb had gone into the house to commit any further crime. It's obviously a crime to break into the house at two in the morning,” Chapman said. “It appears at this point he entered the incorrect house.”
Otherwise, Chapman remained tight-lipped, releasing no new information, including whether a confrontation occurred, the type of firearm or even the amount of shots fired.
“It's irresponsible of us to release anything that's not verified,” Chapman said.
Gordley was a junior at the nearby Park View High School. He was active in school athletics, participating in football, basketball and baseball for the Patriots. An aspiring rapper, Gordley wrote his own music, often performing on the sidelines during games. He used the moniker “Prince George” and classmates have been writing long live Prince George on Twitter.
“He was very well-liked and very free spirited,” said Wayde Byard, public information officer for Loudoun County Public Schools. “His friends said he was goofy, but in a good way.”
Classmates of Gordley's took to Twitter to mourn the loss of their peer.
"I love you Caleb Allen James Gordley, truly. I wish I could've expressed myself before you were stolen," one teen wrote.
"Probably the only moment of silence this year where the whole school felt absolutely still," said another.
An informal assembly was held before school March 18 at the behest of students. Approximately 200 students attended, signing cards for Gordley's family as they entered.
Additionally, a crisis team has been assigned to Park View High School composed of ten counselors and social workers.
According to Liz Mills, the director of media relations for the LCSO, the name of the shooter is being withheld as he has not been formally charged. The investigation is still ongoing and police are awaiting a full report, including a toxicology report, from the medical examiner.
People with information regarding the case are asked to call the Criminal Investigations Division at 703-777-0475.
This story was originally reported here
Information on the Caleb Gordley vigil is available here