A somber crowd of more than 100 people gathered Tuesday night at an east-central Fresno apartment complex to pray for the family of a Scandinavian Middle School student who died after he was electrocuted when he tried to retrieve a football.
Adrian Antunez Perez, 12, died Monday afternoon at Community Regional Medical Center, four days after he touched a chain-link fence that was accidentally electrified. He then collapsed at Villa Margaritas apartments at 1235 North Recreation Ave.
Tuesday evening, Adrian’s family, friends and former teachers gathered near the fence for a prayer vigil and to grieve. His mother, Victoria Antunez, clutched tightly to a stuffed owl as others encircled her and her family members.
Members of Adrian’s soccer team signed two soccer balls – one to give to his mother, and a smaller ball to be buried with him.
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A small display was put up along the fence with candles, flowers, balloons, books, teddy bears, and signs saying “we love you Adrian” for people to sign to show support.
Becky Anderson, Adrian’s fourth grade social studies teacher at Ewing Elementary School, described him as a happy child who just stood out.
“He was just always smiling and a delight to have in class.” Anderson said. “I would always see him get off the bus, and we’re going to miss him and his smiling face.”
Anderson also said that she wasn’t surprised by the big turnout. “He just had a lot of friends and he had a lot of impact on people.”
Adrian and other children were throwing a football when it fell between a cinder-block wall and the chain-link fence. Adrian had gone to retrieve the ball when he touched the electrified fence. Police and paramedics found him unconscious between the cinder-block wall and the fence.
An investigation showed a bare wire had come into contact with a metal conduit that touched the fence. Lt. Stephen Viveros said the wire and conduit had recently been installed to power video surveillance cameras. “It’s just a tragic accident,” he said.
However, city officials said the wiring was improperly done. The city has issued a citation to the property manager, who must remove the wiring by Friday or face a fine.
Tuesday night, Victoria Antunez expressed appreciation for how many people turned out to support her family and remember her son. But she also looked ahead, saying she planned to take legal action against the apartment manager in hopes of preventing future tragedies.
“Today was my son and tomorrow it could be someone else’s son.” she said. “I don’t want any mother or any child to go through what I am going through right now.”