WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A Piedmont community is still grieving following the untimely death of a 13-year-old who was shot and killed by a man he'd never met.
Nathan Clark was in his bed at the Comfort Suites Hotel in Raleigh on Friday when police say he was shot by a bullet which traveled from the room next door.
"[It’s] probably the most incredibly tragic and unbelievable type circumstance that any of us could imagine," said Richard Hardee, head of the Calvary Baptist Day School.
The man who did the shooting, which has ruled accidental by police, was 42-year-old Randall Louis Vater, of Knightdale. Vater is a felon with a criminal history dating back to the 80's; charged with crimes ranging from breaking and entering to assault to hit-and-run.
Vater was in court on Monday in Wake County, answering for charges stemming from Clark's death, including involuntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Meanwhile, Nathan’s classmates, teachers and administrators at the Calvary Baptist Day School in Winston-Salem were lining the halls of the school with posters, cut-outs and messages to and in honor of Nathan; messages of love, memories and faith.
"He truly loved life, loved soccer, and loved people. I think he's one of those kids that every day he walked in the building or he walked on the field he was happy to be there," said Calvary Baptist Day School Assistant Pricipal John Stubblefield.
The students had spent the morning be consoled by administrators and having group discussions to help them deal with the tragedy.
"I don't know that I've ever seen that many children walk into a gathering space that large that quietly. Obviously the weight of that moment was heavy upon them," said Rob Peters, senior pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. "[This is] obviously one of those sobering moments where you realize [the fragile] nature of life."
Yet, Nathan’s teachers say if any 13-year-old lived a full life, it was Nathan. He was a Boy Scout, a great student and a starter on the varsity soccer team as an eighth-grader. Something the school's fan base, the "Calvary Crazies," recognized as something special.
"They even heckled him in a fun way. Just to identify, 'Hey this is a real superstar on the athletic field,'" said Hardee.
The team met with Nathan's parents on Sunday, at the school's soccer field, where they placed cups inside the outlying fence to spell out "Nathan Clark #27".
"No one's sense of emotion and loss and intensity of that moment can be measured compared to the mom and dad who've lost their only son," said Peters.
Not only was Nathan his parents' only son, but their only child.
Nathan's funeral is planned for Wednesday, with a gathering of family and friends at 10:30 a.m. in the morning and a ceremony scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Calvary Baptist Church.
On Thursday, there will be a "Play for Nathan" event at 5:30 p.m. at BB&T Soccer Park. The community is invited for a small ceremony followed by soccer to honor Nathan.