‘He is rejoicing with Him now’: Friends mourning Wheaton College student turn to faith to cope

WHEATON, Ill. -- The shock is still apparent at Wheaton College, the day after tragedy at a school track meet.

Ethan Roser, 19, was a member of the men's soccer team working as a track volunteer when he was killed during the hammer throw event.

Tonight the school held a prayer service in his honor.

Friends of Roser are turning to their faith in coping with his sudden death.

Kevin Lynch first met the freshman transfer at the Christian, liberal arts college when Roser moved into the Fischer Dorm in January.

"He was always laughing. He was fun to be around. He loved evangelizing, telling people about Jesus. He was passionate about his faith, he was a passionate person. He left a legacy here, I don't doubt it," Lynch said.

On Sunday, the hammer throw area at Lawson Field is quiet and it's hard to tell a tragic accident happened just Saturday.

There are many divots on the field from throws of a hammer, weighing at least 16 pounds. But one marking outside the lines is where Roser was said to be hit in the head late Saturday afternoon.

Two sources tell WGN the blow was to the back of the head.

The student from Cincinnati was pronounced dead after being rushed to Good Samaritan in Downers Grove.

Wheaton College issued a statement expressing grief over the accident and asked for prayers for the Roser family and campus community.

"It's really hard to believe that it happened at all," said student Bethany Litteral. "You have a lot of questions. You want to ask why would something like this happen. But knowing Ethan you know that he had an eternal hope in Christ, so I have absolutely no doubt that he is rejoicing with Him now."

It's not known yet what Roser's duties were on the field or how much training he had before his volunteer duties.

Students held a candlelight vigil Saturday night and another is planned for Sunday night.

Roser's parents are said to be traveling to Wheaton College from Ohio.