Bridgeport (WSYR-TV) - Family and friends gathered to mourn the sudden death of a teenager while he was scuba diving over the weekend.
As deputies in Cayuga County await autopsy results for 16-year old Brandon Finch, students at Chittenango High School met Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil in his memory.
Brandon transferred to the school district last year. His classmates wish they'd taken more time to get to know him.
"There was no event being planned to support his family or his death and we felt that it needed to be done, that we should take notice," said Paige Wooldridge, a classmate of Brandon.
"He was still a 16-year-old boy who went to our school and whether he'd been here a day, a year or 13 years; he still deserved our respect and support and his family deserves it too. So I couldn't see not doing something," said Karlene Becker, who helped organize the vigil.
Brandon was scuba diving with friends Sunday on Skaneateles Lake when he began rapidly swimming toward the surface. Witnesses say he stopped moving before he made it out of the water.
As they wait to learn what happened, students and teachers shared songs and poems as candles were passed out to a small crowd in front of Brandon's high school.
Flags at the Bridgeport Fire Station flew at half-staff in honor of Brandon, who joined the department as a junior firefighter earlier this year.
"It's a great loss. Any time you lose a young kid who is community oriented like that, it is very tough," said Bridgeport Fire Chief Frank Thompson Jr.
The Bridgeport Fire Department will provide a full honor guard for Brandon Finch at his funeral on Saturday. His mother and her boyfriend are also members of the department.
"He was a great kid. Deeply intelligent, he had a lot to offer to classes. He was a quiet guy. He really didn't have to say a lot to get his point across,” said English teacher Greg Shepard.
He leaves behind a powerful point for his young classmates.
"It's not worth being angry with people or upset, because you never know what tomorrow is going to bring," Becker said.
Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the New Comer Funeral Home on Saturday, October 26. Funeral services are scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. that same day.
According to Finch's obituary, memorial contributions may be made to:
Central New York Community Foundation
431 E. Fayette Street, Ste. 100
Syracuse, NY 13202