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Teammates remember Deep Run student killed in Lake Anna boating accident

Posted at 6:54 PM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 18:54:10-04

GLEN ALLEN, Va. -- A student-athlete at Deep Run High School died in a boating accident on Lake Anna, school officials confirmed with CBS 6.

Investigators said four teenagers were fishing on an 18-foot center console boat when it began taking on water.

A witness called for help in the 3000 block of Moody Town Road in Bumpass around 3:50 p.m. Monday.

"We are unsure at this point how the boat started picking up water," said Paige Pearson, public information officer with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Divers pulled Gabe Henderson's body from the water about five hours after the initial call for help. Pearson said the three teens were able to swim to shore.

The department would not officially release the victim's name due to his age.

Divers recovered the center console boat. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

It's unclear whether the teenagers were wearing life jackets.

"We just want to make sure everyone knows that when you're in or around water always wear your life jacket," Pearson warned. "You just don't know when something can happen. Even the most experience swimmers have accidents."

A Deep Run parent shared a statement with CBS 6 on behalf of his football teammates.

“Gabe was a competitor & pushed us all to be our best. He was the Glue when our team needed it the most ! He knew when he needed to turn it on to get the win! All of this with a smile on his face! ” the statement read.

Principal Brian Fellows also confirmed the news Tuesday morning in a message to Deep Run families.

“Today, I am heartbroken to be writing about something that has shocked and saddened our community,” wrote Fellows. “Gabe was a kind, polite, and caring young man who was so full of life, with a smile that lit up a room.”

Henderson played football, basketball, and ran track for the western Henrico high school.

“Gabe was a hard worker in the classroom and on the athletic fields, recently receiving offers from William & Mary, VMI, and Norfolk State to play football. Gabe was loved by his peers, his teachers at DRHS and other schools, his coaches, our staff, and members of our community, and was respected by his opponents on the football field and basketball court,” Fellows wrote.

“We have been in touch with his family, who gave their blessing for us to share this message with our community. At the same time, we are also respecting their wishes for privacy under these tragic circumstances,” he continued.

Jolanda Jones said she met Henderson when her son began playing for the traveling basketball team Trained 2 Go.

“Gabe was a great young man, always sweet — ‘Yes ma'am’ and gave it his all on the basketball court,” Jones recalled. “My son, Jaylen, is in disbelief.”

The family offered their condolences to Henderson’s loved ones.

This past football season, Henderson was named to the All-Region team after he helped lead Deep Run to a perfect regular season and 11-1 overall record.

Central Virginia's high school football community also is sending its support and sympathy to Deep Run High School.

Principal Fellows is providing resources for students and adults as they grieve Henderson’s death.

“While we must still do everything we can to follow current health and safety guidelines that recommend against large gatherings, please know the Deep Run school counseling team is available to students and adults who are, or will be, struggling with this accident and loss,” said Fellows.