School mourns deaths of Mesa brothers - East Valley Tribune: News

School mourns deaths of Mesa brothers

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Posted: Monday, September 21, 2009 3:57 pm | Updated: 12:27 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

As a school ambassador, ninth-grader Ryan Mullaly would help greet, escort and chaperone new students at Mesa's Rhodes Junior High. Ryan was a tall, lanky, good-looking kid, and often would dress up by wearing a nice shirt and tie, Rhodes Junior High Principal Matt Devlin said Monday.

Neighborhood shocked over killings

As a school ambassador, ninth-grader Ryan Mullaly would help greet, escort and chaperone new students at Mesa's Rhodes Junior High.

Ryan was a tall, lanky, good-looking kid, and often would dress up by wearing a nice shirt and tie, Rhodes Junior High Principal Matt Devlin said Monday.

Neighborhood shocked over killings

His seventh-grade brother, Nick, was in the band, had a sharp sense of humor and dreamed of starting his own band someday.

Ryan, 15, and Nick, 12, were remembered as outgoing boys and gifted students as faculty and fellow classmates reeled with shock and sadness over their deaths.

The boys were shot and killed inside their Dobson Ranch home by their mother, Susan Mullaly, 50, in an apparent murder-suicide late Saturday night, police said.

Detective Steven Berry, a Mesa police spokesman, said the parents were having marital problems.

"Kids text, they're on Facebook, so the word got out really fast," Devlin said of the tragedy. "The kids have had time to digest this, but it's still difficult.

"Some of our students are devastated. It's going to be a struggle in the neighborhood and the school community. Because of the happy-go-luck way Ryan was, we didn't see this coming."

Five grief counselors were on hand at the school Monday as an outpouring of support continued for the Mullaly brothers, both of whom were in gifted classes and described as straight-A students who always had a smile on their faces.

As Devlin talked about the brothers in a band room crowded with media, the adjoining room - where the seventh-grade band practiced - was silent because students were struggling with an empty seat where Nick would play a euphonium, a smaller tubalike instrument.

"Ryan was a little more outgoing and was a talented athlete," Devlin said of the two brothers. "Nick had more of a sense of humor and said how he would like to start a band."

Ryan was the No. 1 tennis player on the school's ninth-grade team and would have played in a match Monday, but the match was played without him.

As the Dobson High School club swim team, the Dolphins, competes in its first meet at the newly completed pool on the Rhodes campus on Thursday, the lane where Ryan would have competed in the 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke will remain open as a memorial to him.

As students were leaving school on Monday, at least two younger students said they were just getting to know Nick Mullaly through classes they shared with him.

"He was smart," said one student who was in Nick's reading class. "He loved to read."

"Nick was awesome," said another student, who was in band with him. "I was just getting to know him."

Funeral services for the brothers are pending.

Meanwhile, a memorial to the brothers consisting of burning candles, flowers, pictures and chalk messages from friends written on 35 concrete blocks of the walk leading up to the front door of their home was in place on Monday.

A memorial service is being planned at the school later this week, according to family members who were at the Mullalyresidence on Monday.

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