Alhambra freshman perishes in apparent drowning

Andre Parrilla
Andre Parrilla
MARTINEZ, Calif. – The community continues to mourn in the death of Alhambra High School (AHS) freshmen Andre Parrilla, who died in an apparent drowning April 23 or 24.

According to Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department officials, Parrilla was found unresponsive early Sunday morning in a pool at a home in the 100 block of Hill Girt Ranch Road in unincorporated Martinez. Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to the home, where they performed CPR on Parrilla to no avail.

A Crisis Support Team was made available at AHS, where Parrilla was an offensive lineman on the football team. He also wrestled and played baseball.

Parrilla’s mother is a Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office sergeant, and his stepfather a deputy. His brother, Jason, a senior at AHS, shared the following sentiment on Twitter Sunday, April 24: “I never ever have thought that this day would come when I no longer have my brother by my side. Through it all he was my ride or die no matter what. I loved him with all of me. I wish for nobody to ever have to experience the loss of a sibling. I want to say a huge shoutout to everyone who has offered their prayers and has been there for me today. It means the world that through the roughest time I have this many people by my side. Thank you to all of you and please have my brother in your prayers.”

“Students respond to grief and death differently,” wrote Martinez Unified School District Superintendent Rami Muth, to parents of AHS students, encouraging them to contact a school counselor if any students have difficulty managing their grief. “Martinez Unified is a close-knit community and I know that we will come together in support of the Parrilla family and one another.”

AHS Principal Tom Doppe followed Muth’s sentiments Monday evening, with a letter summing up a somber day at Alhambra.

“Although we had extra support staff on hand, most students seemed to find comfort in the classroom with their teachers and peers,” Doppe wrote, adding the AHS Leadership class set up a station where students could sign their names and send well wishes to Parrilla’s family.

Local organization #HerSmile – which formed in honor of Martinez Junior High School student Jenna Betti, who was killed in a tragic train accident in 2014 – started a fundraiser for the Parrilla family. As of Tribune deadline, $3,200 had been raised. (To contribute, visit https://app.mobilecause.com/vf/Andre)

A candlelight vigil was also held Thursday evening, after Tribune deadline, at the upper field at AHS. The community was invited to participate and share memories of Parrilla.

It’s not yet known what led to Parrilla’s death. The incident is under investigation. Toxicology tests are being performed, with results expected back in 6-8 weeks.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office at (925) 335-1500.

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