Friends remember slain student

Morgan Ott and Zoe Vongtau

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Friends of a Baldwin student who was killed over the summer want people to remember him as a kind and friendly person, despite the circumstances of his death.

Nathan Assad, 17, who would have been a senior, is being remembered as an open-minded, supportive friend who spent most of his time skateboarding and hanging out with friends.

“Nate was always so easy to get along with,” senior Tijana Mrkalj said. “I want everyone to remember him as a loving, and understanding friend.”

According to an account in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Assad was shot Aug. 15 in a dispute over half an ounce of marijuana and a gold chain. Police have charged Nathan Lee, 16, and Bryson Koontz, 17, in the shooting, the Post-Gazette said.

Police said Assad had agreed to sell the marijuana to Lee, but Lee robbed him of the marijuana and a gold chain, the Post-Gazette reported. Assad and a companion chased after Lee in a car, and Lee allegedly shot Assad, police said.

Lee had attended Baldwin for just a week last year, and left soon afterward, Principal Dr. Walter Graves said. Koontz was a Clairton student, according to the Post-Gazette.

Despite the death occurring in the summer, the school made sure counselors were available for grieving friends and peers.

“We put the word out that if any students wanted help, or someone to talk to, they could come to the school,” Graves said.

The counselors have also been available since the beginning of the school year.

Although only befriending him last summer, friends like Mrkalj noted that it was very easy to get to know Assad.

“He was a good kid, really smart and would take the clothes off his back just to help somebody,” friend Austin Flora said.

 

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Friends remember slain student