The Long Branch community is mourning the death of 17-year-old resident Christian Butler, who was hit and killed by a NJ Transit train on Friday night.
NJ Transit spokesman Dan Stessel said Butler was lying on the tracks when he was hit by the train, but that it is still to early to identify the incident as a possible suicide.
While Long Branch Public Schools declined to talk about Butler specifically, Superintendent Michael Salvatore did issue a statement.
“Unfortunately we cannot confirm or release information regarding students to the press without the consent of the family," Salvatore said in an e-mailed statement. "Out of respect for the family we will not request permission to do so, as they are dealing with such tragedy.
“Our primary goal is to support the students, staff and family through this difficult time," Salvatore continued. "Our administration and counselors have been working throughout the weekend, visiting homes, contacting friends and organizing support services. We want the message to be understood that we are here for the children and the community, and we must stand united during tough times."
Reports say Butler was declared dead-on-arrival just before midnight, and that the accident occurred at about 11:20 p.m.
The accident happened near 279 Chelsea Ave., according to the Breaking News Network.
Butler was hit by the 9:30 p.m. train traveling southbound out of New York City, according to Stessel. Fifty-five passengers were aboard the train at the time of the accident, and they were all transported by bus to their desired locations. None of the passengers were injured during the incident.
The train was delayed by two hours after the accident and subsequent trains were delayed by one hour.
Stessel said the accident is still under investigation by the NJ Transit Police.