A 15-year-old boy who was tragically killed in Rocky this week had grown up in Red Deer — leaving many city families grieving his untimely death.
Tanner Mayer, who was shot by a projectile launched by another teen from a pen-sized discharger, was “a wonderful boy,” recalled Linda Hutton of Red Deer.
The teenager went to Central Middle School with her son Preston, and “was one of the sweetest boys I ever had the pleasure of meeting,” said Hutton, who recalled Tanner as always being polite and happy.
The teen was also remembered as being a good student, both at the Pines School and at Central Middle School, which he attended before his family moved to Rocky Mountain House about two years ago. Hutton recalled Tanner’s father accepted an accounting job there.
“We absolutely adored Tanner and his family,” she added.
As a single mom, Hutton particularly appreciated that Tanner’s dad, Bill Mayer, became a mentor for her son. Along with Tanner’s mom, Trisha, “his parents are the most caring and wonderful people I know. Such a terrible thing has happened and this will affect many of us in Red Deer who have been honoured to know Tanner and his family,” said Hutton. The Mayers also have a young daughter who is about five.
Cindy Mandrusiak drove to Rocky this week with her sons Brenden and Spencer, and with Preston Hutton, to support the Mayer family after she heard the shocking news of Tanner’s death.
“This is going to be tough, really tough,” said Mandrusiak, because of the randomness of what happened.
According to police, another boy was fiddling with a pen-like object that discharged on Monday afternoon. Some kind of projectile — either a flare or a “bear banger” explosive meant to scare bears — struck Tanner at close range, causing fatal injuries.
The freak nature of the death makes it harder to accept, said Mandrusiak. “It’s so senseless,” she added, noting both her sons are hard hit by the news. “Tanner spent a lot of time at our house. He and Spencer were close to best friends,” having known each other since kindergarten.
She remembered Tanner, who had just entered Grade 11, as a music lover, playing the guitar and drumming with his dad. “He never got into trouble and he never had an attitude. He was a very smart kid. . . . This is such a loss.”
Like many friends of the Mayers in Red Deer and Rocky, the Huttons and Mandrusiaks are waiting to hear about funeral arrangements.
Meanwhile, an autopsy was done by the provincial coroner this week, and some information was passed on Thursday to Rocky RCMP.
But police are not releasing the results yet, saying the investigation into Mayer’s death is ongoing.