News Column

Southgate Middle Schooler Suicides With Handgun on Campus

March 21, 2013

Elisha Anderson, Tammy Stables Battaglia and Eric D. Lawrence

A 14-year-old boy used a handgun to commit suicide in an upstairs bathroom Thursday at Davidson Middle School in Southgate -- stunning the community and leaving students, police and school officials looking for answers.

The student, whose name was not released by school officials or police at a news conference held today, was found by another student and teachers were notified.

"We don't have a very good idea of what happened yet," Southgate Community Schools Superintendent Bill Gruscki said, who said they don't have any indication that the youth was being bullied.

He called him a good student and said he was somewhat popular.

Southgate Police Detective Sgt. David Fobar, the investigator in charge of the scene at the school, said the boy showed no signs of being suicidal.

"It was a normal day," Fobar said. "Even the kids that drove him to school, no indication."

Educators immediately locked down the school at 15800 Trenton Road, with students in place in their classrooms as other employees ran toward the sound.

Kali Timmis, 13, who is also in the eighth grade, went to the corner of her English room and into lockdown after those in class heard a shot.

"Wrecked, they're wrecked," she said about her classmates as she left the school with her mom shortly after the shooting. "There's crying."

Karina Moise, 14, went with her Spanish classmates to the gym.

"We just kept seeing people running down the hallway," she said.

She described the victim as a friendly boy she knew from her lunch period.

"Happy for the most part; always laughing," she said. "He was really nice. He would offer to give you stuff (from his lunch)."

Classes won't resume at the school until Monday when counselors will be present.

Southgate Director of Public Safety Thomas Coombs said an investigation is ongoing to determine to whom the gun belonged.

An official with the Southgate Community School District said the gun was believed to belong to a family member.

There are no mental detectors at the school, but school officials will examine if changes need to be put in place over the next few years.

"We had no idea that student was coming into the building armed," Gruscki said.

Coombs said the student was transported to a local hospital and later died.

He said a note was discovered on the student after he went to the hospital.

"I haven't seen the note," he said.

Coombs said a fellow student was mentioned in the note, as if he was saying goodbye.

"This is a situation that no one wants to have happen," he said.

Officers were dispatched to the school around 8:15 a.m. today and said no other students were in the restroom at the time.

Students were released to parents and guardians from the school at 15800 Trenton Road after a lockdown there.

"We did not allow any students to walk home," Gruscki said.

Investigators have spoken to parents of the teen and plan to continue to investigate to see if they can determine a reason for it, Coombs said. They plan to have follow-up conversation to determine if he was having any mental issues.

"Our prayers and thoughts are with this family," Gruscki said.

Free Press Staff Writer Gina Damron contributed.

More Details: Suicide Hotline

Among the warning signs of suicide are: talking about suicide, expressions of hopelessness, personality changes, depression or giving away possessions. If you or a loved one is thinking of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention hotline: 800-273-8255. It will connect you with a counselor at a crisis center in your area 24 hours a day.



Source: (c)2013 the Detroit Free Press Distributed by MCT Information Services


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