Boy killed on Halloween identified

Associated Press / November 3, 2009

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PELHAM, N.H. - The boy who was killed on Halloween by a falling tree was a student at a Catholic elementary school in Lowell, school officials said yesterday.

Christian Gualtieri of Pelham was with about 20 other trick-or-treaters on Halloween night when a gust of wind toppled a birch tree onto him. He was rushed to Saints Medical Center in Lowell, where he was pronounced dead.

Police Lieutenant Gary Fisher called the crash a “freak accident’’ and said he didn’t think anything could have prevented Christian’s death. There was no indication that the tree, which was on private property, was a danger, Fisher said.

Wind gusts Saturday reached 40 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

“There is no rational explanation for this tragedy,’’ said Sister Prescille Malo, principal of Ste. Jeanne d’Arc School in Lowell, where Christian was a student. “Christian was a compassionate boy who lived up to his name. His smile was contagious, and affability was his trademark.’’

“As a faith community we will deal with this challenge in prayer and mutual support,’’ Malo said in the statement. “Grief counseling will be made available.’’

Christian was part of a group of children who planned to go on a hayride through the neighborhood, Fisher said. But the boy was standing by himself when the tree fell at the end of a cul-de-sac, a few hundred yards from his home.

Police said the tree, about 50 feet tall, snapped about 5 feet from its base, the Lowell Sun reported. A memorial of flowers and notes surrounded the stump of the tree. “We love and miss you Christian!’’ read one note attached to a vase of flowers.