Whenever a child dies, no matter what the cause, it will always affect someone. At Tishomingo High School, the unexpected death of 17-year-old Dale Catron has affected not only faculty and staff, but possibly students the most.
“When they told me, I was like ‘No, that is a lie,’ I didn't want to believe them," 18-year-old THS student Anthony Brown said. “I just thought ‘What are we going to do now? This is going to be hard.’ I had him in a couple of classes and I know his dad and sisters and it's hard on them.”
Catron was shot and killed early Saturday morning in the 500 block of west 14th in Ada. Police have arrested four suspects in connection to the shooting and are still conducting an investigation.
Tishomingo High School Principal Leo McCallay said Catron's death has shocked the school.
“We lost a student, a classmate, and even those who didn't have him in a class, they lost a friend,” he said. “It impacted the school. He was a nice young man.”
McCallay also said the faculty handled the somber news in a professional way.
“I think that the faculty handled everything great,” he said. “It's been an impact and has certainly affected a lot of students, but everything is going well.”
THS counselor Vicki Harbert said students tried to keep their minds off of the tragedy Monday.
“For the most part, the kids have been so good,” Harbert said. “Understandably, they were upset. Monday, they just wanted to stay busy. I went to the store Sunday and got all sorts of arts and crafts stuff and they just stayed in my office, remembering, being together. It was kind of surreal.”
Harbert also reiterated that it was a shock to the town of approximately 3,000 residents and stated one comment she heard repeated by others.
“The one thing that kept being said over and over was, ‘Things like this happen in big places. Not in Tishomingo and Ada.’ But the sad fact is, when you're in the wrong place at any given time, bad things can happen when you make wrong choices.”
According to Brown, Catron was a class clown.
“You could be mad, you could be sad, you could be happy, but he could always just make you laugh,” he said. “He was just a comedian. He was a good friend, payed attention in class, he wanted to learn. If you weren't teaching as fast as he was learning, he would just sit there and get bored.”
Student James Jimgolden said even though he didn't get to know Catron until this year, he still was a friend.
“Dale always liked to cut up, he had a real good sense of humor about him,” he said. “He didn't really judge anybody for what they looked like, you know, like what they were, he judged on who they were, their personality. I didn't really get to know Dale until this year, but me and him were buddies.”
McCallay said that the school wouldn't be closing for Catron's funeral Friday, but encouraged any faculty or students to attend.
According to Clarice Culberson, mother of 17-year-old victim Dale Catron, Catron did not know any of the four suspects currently being held in connection to his shooting.
“He was walking with my nephew and they hollered at him and invited him in,” Culberson said of the events that occurred early last Saturday morning. They were recounted to her by her 16-year-old nephew. “They did not know them at all, whatsoever. I don’t know what they were thinking, going into a stranger’s house.”
“Dale was not involved in drugs, nor was he involved in gangs,” Tommie Postoak, Catron’s cousin said. “I don’t know if I ever saw him without a smile on his face. Family was very important to him.”
Catron was shot and killed at approximately 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning. Ada Police had arrested four suspects by the end of the weekend and are currently being held, awaiting court. One of the suspects, 26-year-old Ada resident Scotty Brooks, will appear before a judge today.
Postoak said Catron was already discussing college options and working on the knee he injured during the third game of the football season for the Tishomingo Indians.
“He was always positive, never saying ‘I can’t,’” Culberson said. “Those words were not in his vocabulary. It’s still hard to believe. I know if he was here, though, he would tell me to be strong.”
“The family is trying to accept the fact that he’s gone,”Postoak said.