A Missouri school district canceled classes this week after a student was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a school bathroom, KTVI-TV (St. Louis) is reporting.
At around 7:40 a.m. on Monday, a student at Kingston K-14 Junior High and High School in Cadet, Missouri (about 70 miles southwest of St. Louis) went into a bathroom adjoining the cafeteria. There, he found the body of another student on the floor. The student, believing the young man on the floor was having a medical emergency, contacted a school custodian, who then contacted teachers.
Washington County Sheriff Zach Jacobsen said, in remarks available via the Monterey County Weekly, that officials were confronted not with a child having a medical emergency, but with a dead body.
“When we arrived we found a 17-year-old white male suffering from what appears to be at this point a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.”
Authorities made the decision to send the children home that day.
“We locked all the exits and had a deputy at one main entrance for people to come in and go out so we could keep track of them.”
As of this writing, officials are not saying much about the circumstances of the young man’s apparent suicide. According to authorities, his fellow students say he sought treatment for some sort of mental health issue “about four years ago” but hadn’t been acting “out of character” prior to his death.
— KSDK News (@ksdknews) March 6, 2018
Meanwhile, although Missouri law considers the victim an adult because of his age, he is still a high school student, and what happens to high school students within the walls of their schools is generally considered confidential. For this reason, authorities are not yet releasing the young man’s name.
Jacobsen said that the sheriff’s office will be working with federal authorities to determine how and where Cook got his weapon. Similarly, school officials are looking into how a student got inside while carrying a loaded weapon. Although the building is said to be secure, Superintendent Alex McCaul said he doesn’t want the school environment to “feel like a prison.”
On Tuesday, according to McCaul, the school was re-opened. Grief counselors have been on hand to talk to students about their concerns.
“We have many kids who are hurting and staff members who are in shock today.”
This is not the first time a student has committed suicide with a gun since the Parkland shooting. As CBS News reported last week, an Ohio middle school student planned a school shooting and even managed to bring a semiautomatic rifle to school. That 13-year-old student instead committed suicide before carrying out his planned massacre.