In Loving Memory of Aaron Bing Xue

January 27, 1994 - April 17, 2009

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The Story of Aaron

 Still a Mystery (posted 9/2009)

Aaron Bing Xue was born in State College, PA on January 27, 1994.  On the day he was born there was a big, icy snow storm and his parents had quite an adventure going to the hospital.  They named their new born son Aaron Bing to commemorate his special birthday.  His middle name Bing means ice in Chinese.

Aaron came to Essex, Vermont with his parents and older sister when he was 2 years old.  He had a happy childhood growing up in Vermont, enjoying many of the things a typical Vermont boy would do - fishing in the summer, hiking in the fall and skiing in the winter.

Aaron attended schools in the Essex Town School District and was enrolled as a freshman at Essex High School, where he was an honor roll student. He also excelled at many sports, including soccer, basketball, and tennis, in which he won many tournaments since the age of 10 and played number one singles for the Essex High School tennis team. He played the piano for many years and played the cello as a member of the Vermont Youth Philharmonia. He was a truly diverse individual: he loved gaming with his friends, reading a wide variety of books, enjoying the outdoors, and playing sports and music. Aaron was gentle, warm, loyal, clever, cheerful, insightful, and humorous, and more things than can be expressed in words. He was always loved by friends, teachers, and family.

Aaron passed away unexpectedly on Friday April 17, 2009.  In the morning of that Friday he took the school bus to Essex High School (EHS), went to classes, had lunch at the cafeteria, and had tennis practice after school with the EHS varsity team. All in all it seemed to be an ordinary day at school for Aaron, but it was not by any means. The tennis practice was finished around 4:00 PM and shortly after Aaron received two calls on his mobile phone from a friend who was also 15.  After that Aaron called his mom and said he was going to hang out with this friend after he got home. He joined this friend and another boy (aged 16) about 4:45 PM and the three of them hang out at the Essex Outlet shopping area and the Lang Farm neighborhood for over 3 hours.  They went to Hannaford Supermarket around 7:45 PM, and two of them, Aaron and the 16 year old boy, went inside while Aaron’s friend stayed outside. Aaron then was walking out of the store with a pack of candy worth $2.73, apparently not paid, and was caught by the Hannaford employee. He was brought home later (8:18 PM) by an Essex police officer with a warning notice of trespassing from Hannaford.   The police officer informed Aaron’s mom what happened at Hannaford and left the house in about 15 minutes. After that Aaron’s mom talked to him about the unacceptable behavior for 15-20 minutes and Aaron suddenly stood up and ran out  of the house. Aaron’s mom started looking for him immediately and called 911 for help.  Aaron’s parents searched for Aaron all night and around 5:30 AM found him dead behind Essex High School library with a revolver next to him.

Details of what happened that evening around Aaron are still sketchy even today. What is known today is that the gun belonged to the family of that friend of Aaron. Somehow that friend had brought two revolvers and a pack of ammunition in a bag to the woods only 200-300 yards away from Aaron’s home, and hid the bag in the woods, before the 3 boys met up.  And while Aaron was brought home by the police officer, and stayed home before he ran away from home, the other 2 boys were back to Aaron’s neighborhood, very near the guns.  It is not entirely clear what happened after Aaron ran away from home at about 9:00 PM, and there are many unanswered questions especially about how exactly the gun got into Aaron’s hand.

Essex Reporter and Seven Days recently published the tragic story about Aaron’s death.  Please follow their links to read more details.)

Aaron’s family and in fact the whole community want answers to the question “why” – Why did Aaron take this step?  Was he depressed?  Was he under pressure?  Was he trapped in a situation where he could not back out?  And they want answers to the question “how” – How did Aaron get access to the handguns and ammunition?  Were the guns handed to him by others?  Was he alone?   Was he dared, encouraged or assisted?   Answers to these questions will help to heal, and to prevent similar tragedy from happening again. 

They look for answers to the question “what could have saved Aaron”.  Aaron would be here today with us if the guns were securely stored at home by the gun owner, if youths had been educated about what to do when they knew others were in imminent danger, and if parents had been educated about the risk of teen suicide and prevention.