Brooklyn vice principal killed by falling tree while visiting family on spring break

BROOKLYN, New York (WABC) -- A vice principal from Brooklyn was killed by a falling tree while visiting his family in Indiana.

Elias 'Eli' Smith, 40, was killed Saturday just before 11 p.m. outside his parents' home.

He was visiting the central Indiana town with his wife and two young children, ages 3 and 5, for spring break.

Smith was sitting around a fire pit with his brother when a violent storm moved in. Both Smith and his brother ran for cover, but he did not make it inside.

Smith is remembered as a loving husband, father, son and brother.

He was also a devoted educator and worked as a public school teacher and then vice principal at the Math and Science Exploratory School, MS 447.

His family said they are grateful for all of the support they have received from friends, neighbors, colleagues, students and former students in Brooklyn, as well as the support from friends and family in Central Indiana.

A GoFundMe set up to help his family has raised almost $150,000 in the last few days.

Smith's wife also works in public education as an ESL teacher for the NYC Department of Education.

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38-year-old Brandon Elliot was taken into custody Tuesday night.

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