The 18-year-old University of South Carolina freshman who was found dead at an off-campus residence commonly used by fraternity members was remembered as a polite young man and an astounding athlete.
Charlie Terreni Jr., the son of well-known Columbia attorney Charlie Terreni Sr., was found dead Wednesday at a home at 2319 Lee St.
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts released his identity Thursday and said a morning autopsy revealed no signs of traumatic injury. Final results and a cause of death will depend on toxicology test results, Watts said. Terreni was a USC freshman who lived on campus, the coroner said.
Neighbors said there was a party at the Lee Street house Tuesday – as there often was – but that it wasn’t particularly loud or noisy that night. A keg of beer sat on the front porch on Wednesday. Another was inside the front room.
Thursday morning, Rep. Kirkman Finlay III, R-Richland asked for a moment of silence for Terreni on the State House floor.
“We are so terribly sorry for their loss,” Finlay said later Thursday. “What a wonderful young man with such a bright future. Not only is this a loss for the family but the community and the state as well. As a parent of three children, my heart goes out to (the Terreni family). We know he is in a better place.”
Terreni, who would have turned 19 on March 31, graduated from Cardinal Newman School in June 2014, where he was captain of the soccer team his senior year. According to a statement released by school officials, Terreni was a well-liked student and was part of the school’s soccer team the year they won the state championship.
“Everybody knew and loved Charlie,” Will Eudy, Cardinal Newman’s soccer coach, said in a statement. “He represented Cardinal Newman well, as both a student and as an athlete. He will be missed.”
School officials are holding a special Mass for Terreni, and the school’s chapel has been opened for private prayer and counselors are avialable for students.
“Our hearts are broken,” Cardinal Newman Principal Jacqualine Kasprowski said in a statement. “Our condolences and prayers go out to Charlie’s family and friends.”
According to S.C. United Football Club’s website, Terreni was selected to be a part of the 2010-11 South Carolina Olympic Development Players state team – an upper echelon of club soccer within the state.
Bert Molinary said he coached Terreni through ODP and on the junior academy Congaree Rapids team. Molinary remembers Terreni as the type of player who had a whimsical shyness but was always comfortable with the ball.
He said there were times he wished Terreni would have been more selfish while playing, but he would always play soccer one step ahead.
“He was the guy that was team first and himself second,” Molinary said. “He was a ‘Glue Guy.’ It didn’t matter if you started, or if you didn’t play at all, Charlie had this encompassing attitude.”
Molinary said Terreni’s family was always supportive of his passion for soccer, often finding them on the sidelines.
Terreni also was a role model for his younger brother, Molinary said. He said Shand Terreni plays goalkeeper at Cardinal Newman now and attributes his technical skill with the ball to his older brother.
Family friend Mike Couick, the president and CEO of The Electric Cooperatives of S.C., would agree with Molinary. He said he often saw Terreni and his younger brother playing soccer in the front yard of their home with their father.
“My impression of Charlie Jr. and his brother, Shand, is with their dad doing a number of things, not likely to be yard work, but more likely to be doing something athletic,” Couick said. “He was always polite and someone who enjoyed life whether it be in the swimming pool or playing soccer.”
Couick said while Terreni’s father was helping coach his two sons in soccer, Terreni’s mother was not far off, making sure “all the trains were on time.”
Couick, a former state senate staffer, worked with Charlie Terreni Sr. when Terreni was chief counsel to former Lt. Gov. Bob Peeler. They worked together again at The Electric Cooperatives , where they designed a pilot program on residential energy efficiency, something that later became federal law, Couick said.
Peeler said Terreni was born while his father worked for him.
“He was a cute little boy,” he said. “The Terreni family is a close family, and anyone who is around them for any period of time certainly knows that. They are good people.”
In a statement posted to the university’s website Thursday, USC President Harris Pastides asked students to support each other and the Terreni family.
“I offer my personal condolences and prayers for the families who are grieving,” Pastides said in the statement. “May our compassion relieve a small part of their burden.”
At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Columbia police and the Richland County Coroner’s Office received a call that an 18-year-old male USC student had been found dead inside a home at 2319 Lee St., not far from USC’s campus, related to Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.
Terreni reportedly was a member of the fraternity.
Following news of the death, the Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity issued a statement saying the USC chapter of the fraternity has been put on administrative suspension and the chapter has ceased operations.
“The fraternity’s thoughts and prayers are with the family of this young man and the brothers of Xi Chapter,” Justin True, a Pi Kappa spokesman, said in the statement.
This is the second time this school year that an off-campus house used by fraternity members has drawn attention.
In December 2014, several members of the Kappa Sigma fraternity were forced to move out of their Devine Street house after police reported prescription drugs were being distributed out of the house. There also were allegations of student misconduct and hazing.