An Illinois teen just two months away from graduating high school was killed after being punched at a party over the weekend, officials said.
Jacob Arter, 18, was pronounced dead less than an hour after friends rushed him to a local hospital early Sunday. He succumbed to injuries stemming from a battery that occurred at a private clubhouse near Germantown, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office said.
Arter had been hit by another Central High School student, and the blow knocked him unconscious and ultimately proved fatal, authorities said.
The teen’s sudden death rocked the community and stunned friends and family, who recalled what a wonderful young man Arter, who went by “Jake,” was turning out to be.
He played football his entire high school career, worked part-time at a local restaurant and was involved in the Cross of Victory Church in Pocahontas, his obituary read.
He is survived by his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and his sister, who took to social media to share how grateful she was to have had a brother like Arter.
“I still don't have words to express how I'm feeling about this situation. All I do know is that God gave me the best little brother,” she wrote. “To say that I am blessed is an understatement.”
Arter planned to play football at Illinois College. His visitation is scheduled for Wednesday, while his funeral will be Thursday.
The coroner’s office is conducting an autopsy to determine Arter’s cause of death, officials said.
An unnamed 17-year-old boy suspected of punching the teen was taken into custody after the incident and was being held at a juvenile detention center, the sheriff’s office said.
It was not immediately clear if he had been charged in Arter's death.
The suspect reportedly began the year as Arter’s teammate on the football team, but lost eligibility due to grades. He began attending an alternative school to boost his grades in January 2017, according to reports.
It was not immediately clear what caused the altercation that led to Arter’s death, but officials said the boys knew each other.
A special prosecutor has been appointed to handle the case, authorities said.
Clinton County State’s Attorney John Hudspeth announced he was related to the suspect and removed himself to “avoid any claim of error which might result from a conflict of interests, and to avoid the appearance of impropriety,” he said in a statement obtained by the Belleville News-Democrat.
The sheriff's department is investigating with the coroner and Clinton County prosecutors.