St Louis Park has seen more than its share of tragedies


The list keeps getting longer -- the list of people from St. Louis Park who have died recently in unexpected and tragic circumstances.

The Minneapolis suburb has had more brushes with heartbreak than most in recent years. The latest is the apparent loss of a father and son who disappeared more than a week ago while hiking in Colorado. Authorities there have called off the search for Damian McManus and his son Evan, 18, a senior at St. Louis Park High School.

On Thursday, students at St. Louis Park High School wore orange in memory of Evan McManus, their missing classmate, FOX 9 reports. They have lost at least three other schoolmates in the last two years.

A member of the baseball team, Derrick Keller, lost his battle with leukemia; freshman basketball player, Carly Christenson, died from the flu; and senior Andrew Dudley was killed by a car while riding his bike out of a church parking lot.

Three younger students also died unexpectedly: Fourth graders Mohammed Fofana and Haysem Sani died after being buried in a landslide while on a field trip at Lilydale Park last year; and seventh-grader Abdullah Charif drowned in a pool at the middle school in February.

A popular youth sports coach in St. Louis Park, Joel Koch, died two years ago at 49 from an aneurysm.

It's almost too much for one community to endure.

"You want to be able to prepare your kids for life and circumstances, but I don't think there's anything that can prepare you for the amount of tragedy that's happened in this community over the last couple of years," St. Louis Park resident and parent Mike Resnick told FOX 9.

He said he hopes the string of tragedies will be a life lesson for the students in the community, according to FOX 9.

"It's forced them to understand loss and the grieving process -- and, hopefully, appreciate the time they have together while they are in the moment."

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