The murder of 17 year old Shay Watson in August set a sad tone for the beginning of the school year.

Watson, who attended Verona Area High School in the 2018-19 school year, would’ve been a senior at Madison West High School this school year.

He was found dead at his home on the 2700 block of Lyman Lane at 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25, after being shot. The crime remains unsolved, though Fitchburg police chief Chad Brecklin said at the time it did not appear to be random.

VAHS boys track coach Joff Pedretti, who had worked with Watson in his year on the track team, said Watson had a “cool, calm and relaxed demeanor,” and had told him he wanted to be a lawyer.

“It’s tough not knowing how the story would unfold,” Pedretti said. “We will certainly miss him.”

It was the first homicide in the city since March 2018, when an attempted robbery left a 20 year old Fort Atkinson man dead.

— Scott Girard