SOUTHGATE (WWJ) – A 13-year-old student was found shot in a bathroom before class began Thursday at Davidson Middle School in Southgate.
Public Safety Director Thomas Coombs said the 8th grade boy suffered a single self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
“A student came into the bathroom; found him down on the ground. The student notified a staff member, [the] staff member came in and saw that the student had a gunshot wound,” Coombs.
He was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Fellow student Kaleb Ortega said the teen had been bullied by classmates who made fun of his clothing and personal hygiene — but Coombs said they have found no evidence of depression or bullying.
Coombs said a note was found, but it contained nothing to indicate why the teen took his own life.
“From what I understand he was a very good student; somewhat popular. Talking with the staff at the building, he had never gone to anybody with any issues or problems or anything like that,” Coombs said. “The only person that can answer what happened is … unfortunately he can’t answer that.”
Coombs said it’s not yet clear how the teen obtained the weapon — 40-caliber Glock — and there could be charges brought against whoever owned the gun.
There are no metal detectors at the school, which was on lockdown for about an hour following the shooting.
Talking to WWJ Newsradio 950’s Pat Sweeting, Ortega described how students learned of the tragedy.
“They got on announcements and said there was a male boy in ninth grade missing …. A teacher ran into the room … There was cop cars coming and an ambulance,” Ortega said. “An hour later they called us all into one big room and they said that someone shot himself … he brung a gun into the school.”
Police are not releasing the victim’s name at this time.
School will be canceled on Friday and district Superintendent Bill Grusecki said students’ belongings will be searched when school resumes on Monday. At that time, students are asked not to bring backpacks and to carry books in-hand.
Counselors will be on hand for both students and staff and will remain available as long as they are needed.
Student Courtney Widby said she and the victim had been best friends for six years.
“He was like one of those fun kids — like a class clown … he was fun to be around and he was nice,” Widby said. “He got good grades and everything and he was smart … I think he said he wanted to do something with computers.”
Earlier Thursday, a text message sent to parents stated there was a “medical emergency” involving a student.
Parents were being asked to pick up their kids. One parent said there were about a hundred parents waiting outside the school before 10 a.m. — and they were being let into the school only a few at a time.
Many of them, including Ann Tackett, were confused and scared by the school’s cryptic message and were scrambling to find out what exactly was going on.
“It’s like, OK, what kind of message is that to put on the phone?” Tackett said.
“I know that if I click on Facebook, they’ll be something on Facebook — and sure enough, they were saying there was a shooting and the school was on lockdown,” Tackett said. “And then [my son] called and said you need to come and get us, somebody had killed themselves. So, I just left work and came right down there to get ’em.”
The school is located on the 15000 block of Trenton Road.
A candlelight vigil was tentatively planned for 7 p.m. at nearby Anderson High School.
As the news spread, several students took to social media to share their thoughts: