MAHWAH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A former New Jersey high school football player was shot to death over the weekend.
The 23-year-old from Mahwah was killed near the campus of Ohio State University, where he was a student.
On Monday, CBS2’s Nick Caloway spoke to his former coaches about the tragic loss.
Chase Meola was a standout on Mahwah High School’s football team five years ago. CBS2 obtained video of him making two interceptions in a game back in 2014.
The next year, Meola’s squad won a state title.
His former head coach, Jeff Remo, said Meola played with more energy than anyone.
“He would always add some excitement to practice, and he made it fun,” Remo said.
So it was heartbreaking to anyone who knew Meola to learn he had been killed early Sunday morning.
The 23-year-old, who was a fifth-year marketing major at Ohio State, was found shot to death near the school’s campus.
“I was just in pure shock,” a friend named Austin said by phone.
Meola’s long-time college friends said he had an infectious smile and could make anybody laugh.
“I mean, it’s just so horrible. Everybody is so upset. Everybody loved Chase so much. He was such a light,” Austin said.
Kintie Mitchell Jr., 18, from Columbus, Ohio, was charged with murder in Meola’s killing, police said.
Police said the shooting stemmed from some kind of altercation, after some people were asked to leave a house party.
It wasn’t clear if Meola was even involved in the fight.
“The Ohio State University community is in mourning, and our deepest condolences and support go to the family and friends of Chase,” the university public safety department said, adding that counseling services were available for students and staff.
Back in Mahwah, his former coaches remember a kid that loved to laugh and loved to smile.
“That was Chase. Whenever you saw Chase, he had a big smile on his face,” Remo said.
“Yeah and he was just always full of excitement, full of life, and full of energy,” current Mahwah football coach Christopher Diaz added.
In Ohio on Sunday, hundreds attended a vigil for Meola and friends created a GoFundMe page to help raise money for his family. It raised more than $50,000 in less than 24 hours.
Caloway talked with Meola’s brother, who said the family plans to use that money to start a scholarship foundation in Chase’s honor.
They said he will be missed, but his memory will live on.
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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)