Student dies on Skyline High School campus

December 14, 2012

By Caleb Heeringa

UPDATED — 3:15 p.m. Dec. 14, 2012

A 16-year-old boy, a Skyline High School student, committed suicide on the school’s campus Thursday night.

Sammamish Police Administrative Sgt. Jessica Sullivan said that the agency’s dispatchers received a call from the boy at about 9:30 p.m.

The teen told police he was in the lower student parking lot and intended to kill himself. Police arrived six minutes later and found him dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound just outside of his vehicle. Sullivan said he was alone at the time.

Sullivan declined to comment on the method of death, and said the King County Medical Examiner’s office would be releasing that information by late Friday.

Skyline’s gymnastics team held an event at the school Thursday evening and the school’s wrestling team had returned to the school that night after an away match, but Sullivan said no student athletes were in the area when the incident occurred.

“They were on the opposite side of the school from where all this happened,” she said.

Students arrived to campus Friday to find additional counselors on campus.

In an email to parents, Skyline Principal Lisa Hechtman said the school will have extra staffers on hand to help students cope with the incident.

“We have a crisis plan in place, which includes extra counselors, outreach to students and staff we know were close to the student, and preparation by all of our staff to help students process and to be watchful for signs of grief,” she wrote.

Hechtman also urged parents to provide a safe, sensitive environment for their children to express their grief and to empathize with them rather than attempt to change their feelings or cheer them up.

Skyline’s counseling center can be reached at 837-7887.

Issaquah School District spokeswoman Sara Niegowski said administrators informed staffers about the incident before school Friday. Counselors also identified close friends of the student and informed them. The rest of the school was told about the incident by first-period teachers.

“No matter what you do, it’s a really hard thing to handle,” Niegowski said. “We try to be on the lookout for students and staff that look like they want to talk about it or may need a little bit extra attention.”

Niegowski said the incident is doubly troubling for students and staff given the shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, in which 20 children and six adults died.

“It’s been a rough day for public education in general,” she said.

Reporter Warren Kagarise contributed to this report.

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Comments

15 Responses to “Student dies on Skyline High School campus”

  1. Anthony Colon on December 14th, 2012 10:37 am

    My prayer goes out to the family. Rest in peace, and I hope we don’t have to go though this at Skyline high or anywhere else.

  2. Hu? on December 14th, 2012 12:43 pm

    Well being that there is an officer at the school, and the police station is a 2 minute walk from the lower parking lot the police must have not though of this as a serious call.

  3. Matt on December 14th, 2012 2:25 pm

    Hu,

    First, there is an officer at the school ONLY DURING SCHOOL HOURS. Thus, there was no officer at the school at 9:30pm, when this occurred.

    Second, bad things happen. Unfortunately we haven’t invented the transporter yet, enabling the police to instantaneously beam to an emergency.

    Third, you’re an ass for using this tragedy as an excuse to criticize the police. And the IP should be ashamed for publishing your falsehood-laced crap.

  4. Anon. on December 14th, 2012 3:16 pm

    However, there is a police station that is right across the street. And yet, they arrived 6 mins later? The police took 6 mins while they could’ve cross the street. In 6 mins, he was dead. Would he have been dead in 4? or 5?

  5. Anonymous on December 14th, 2012 3:44 pm

    This is so tragic. But I don’t understand why ISD hasn’t notified people in the district about this via e-mail? I’m signed up for the e-news yet I have not received any word of this. They’ve only sent a message about the tragic Connecticut shooting. Does ISD plan on informing people about what happened?

  6. Anonymous on December 14th, 2012 4:17 pm

    In response to your comment “Anonymous,”

    An email was sent to Skyline HS students and families about his suicide but not to the district as a whole

  7. Sally on December 15th, 2012 10:22 am

    Anonymous, this suicide is a tragedy. He had parents, family, friends and teachers that had to be informed. It isn’t about letting the entire community know first. It would behoove you to know that that the police and the are on top of these horrible instances and some sensitivity is advised. Not everything is about you, me or the wider community. We will know (or not) when the time is right. Yes he was on school grounds, yes he had a gun and yes it was late. And yes there are questions. Keep in mind those who have suffered loss.

  8. Anon. on December 15th, 2012 11:58 am

    My condolences to his friends and family.

    I do believe that the police have to take some responsibility for this. He called the police, telling them his intentions and his location, why would he tell them where he was if he didn’t want to be located quirky? The dispatcher should’ve stayed with him on the phone for as log as possible while at the time, sent out officers to the location, which happens to be right across the street from the station, less than a minute away by drive.

    They probably didn’t think this call was serious, how foolish.

    Disappointed in the police.

  9. anonymous on December 15th, 2012 1:00 pm

    This is a true tragedy. We are so sad for the child and his family. We are also not surprised. This is the second incident that has been a result of the unnatural social pressures that Skyline encourages. Student and parents and faculty have all contributed to creating an environment that ostrasizes anyone that doesnt fit into their definition of normal or successful. They should all take responsibility for being part of the cause of these horrific events.

  10. student on December 15th, 2012 1:45 pm

    There’s so much I want to say to you, my friend, but I can’t find the words.

    Walking into a classroom without you will be difficult, but I can only hope that wherever you are, you’ve found the peace and happiness you’ve been searching for. Never forget us, because we’ll never forget you.

    Take care of yourself up there, buddy.

    Te queremos.

  11. Joe on December 16th, 2012 4:05 pm

    The police are not responsible for this death. I understand your emotional desire to find a scapegoat, but the person who pulled the trigger is 100% responsible.

  12. meredith on December 17th, 2012 10:58 am

    My heart is so saddened by the thought I’ll never see you again. It has been such a joy to watch you grow into a young man. I adore you and your family and will never forget your presence in my chair.

  13. Smoley on December 18th, 2012 3:02 pm

    This could have been much worse. Here is yet another example of a mentally unstable kid with a gun on a public school campus.

    I’m less interested in people’s theories of school bullying and rich kid snobbery at Skyline High School and want to know how this kid managed to get a loaded gun in his hands.

    For you students out there: Is it common knowledge that some students at Skyline could get access to a firearm if they wanted?

  14. Matt on December 19th, 2012 7:23 am

    To the posters who unjustifiably criticized the police, here are the facts from the latest article:

    “The Sammamish Police Department is just across 228th Avenue Southeast from Skyline, but all of the department’s units were out in the city when the call came in.”

    So much for your asinine theories that the police “didn’t take the call seriously.” So much for your “disappointment in the police.”

    Looking forward to your apology.

  15. Anonymous on March 5th, 2013 10:36 pm

    I graduated from ISD in 2008. There have been 5 suicides that I am aware of since 2005. It is 2012 and it is sill happening, what isn’t ISD doing that they could be doing? Where is more awareness, more outreach? Bring back an annual challenge day, just anything. I am so saddened every time I hear of another. What can we do as a community to help?!

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