Slain 16-year-old Andy Zeng was a “jolly” and beloved student at Thurgood Marshall Academic High School who loved video games, rarely missed class and was not in a gang, the school principal and Zeng’s peers said Tuesday.
Stunned students at the school are mourning Zeng’s death this week after the sophomore’s body was found shot in a home in the Silver Terrace neighborhood on Sunday morning. He did not live in the home. The District Attorney’s Office charged a 15-year-old boy with Zeng’s murder Tuesday and an 18-year-old, Jimmy Lei, was charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact.
Students and administrators were shocked at Zeng’s passing. As many as 10 grief counselors were made available to students trying to cope with the death.
In front of the school Tuesday, an American flag was flown at half-staff to honor Zeng.
Friends of Zeng started a Facebook page to memorialize the teen.
Zeng was a popular student, school principal Guillermo Morales said. He may not have been a star athlete, but he was well known for being overtly friendly and persistent, he said.
When Zeng greeted people at school, “he took the time to extend his hand and say good morning,” Morales said.
Students headed off campus Tuesday called Zeng “jolly” and “a good guy.”
He was an average student who had a strong attendance record at school and wasn’t in a gang, Morales said. He also took part in a video games club at the school.
On Tuesday, students were signing an 8-foot banner memorializing Zeng. The banner read “Rest in peace, we will miss you,” and will be sent to Zeng’s family, Morales said.
The news of Zeng’s passing spread quickly among students on social media sites including Twitter and Tumblr.
“I found out during 3rd period today,” a Thurgood Marshall sophomore wrote on her Tumblr page Tuesday. “Marvin, Jason, Joanne, Eric and me were all in shocked (sic). We called your phone, you didn’t pick up. I cried during lunch.”
Prosecutors Tuesday charged a San Francisco 15-year-old boy with murder in connection with the killing of a high school sophomore found shot inside a Silver Terrace home early Sunday morning.
The 15-year-old was charged with murder, attempted arson and use of an incendiary device, said District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Erica Derryck.
The body of Andy Zeng, a student at Thurgood Marshall Academic High School, was found inside a two-story home in the 2100 block of Quesada Avenue at about 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, after a resident told police he smelled gas coming from the bottom unit.
The initial caller to police had reported a suicide, but investigators arriving on scene ruled the death a homicide.
Police said a liquid accelerant, either gasoline or kerosene, was found at the scene, but would not discuss details of the investigation, or a possible motive.
Rumors were circulating among some neighbors Monday that Zeng’s body was discovered with a bag over his head. Police would not confirm those reports.
Police Monday announced the arrests of four people in connection with the case: two 15-year-old boys, a 17-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man. An 18-year-old, Jimmy Lei, was charged Tuesday as an accessory to murder after the fact.
Derryck said her office could not discuss the other juvenile cases because of confidentiality laws involving minors. She did not have immediate information about the adult suspect’s case.
Police said Zeng and the suspects were acquaintances, but none of the suspects attended his school.
One of the accused teens lived at the home where Zeng’s body was found, police said. -- Ari Burack