David Phan, a student at Bennion Junior High School in Taylorsville, reportedly shot himself in the head in front of other students on a sky bridge just outside the school on Thursday afternoon.
According to peers, Phan was the victim of extensive bullying. He had been dismissed from school early that day and went home with this mother, but returned in the afternoon. On the bridge, he met up with some other students and produced a handgun just before shooting himself:
The handgun David used came from his home, Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal confirmed. The gun had been locked up in a safe at the home. Hoyal said David knew where the weapon was and was somehow able to access it.School officials are investigating bullying allegations, though the say Phan apparently hadn't reported any recent incidents. They're also quick to note that Phan was facing "personal issues": School officials say boy who shot himself never reported bullying.
As David walked across the skybridge, he ran into a group of seven students he knew, Hoyal said. There was a "very short" conversation between David and the group before David pulled out a gun and shot himself before anyone had time to react. Hoyal declined to discuss what was said between David and the students.
This blog, which includes comments from an alumnus of Bennion Jr. High, suggests that David Phan might have been the victim of racialized bullying: Bullied Utah Boy David Phan, 14, kills himself outside of school, school claims Phan had "significant personal challenges."
But this is all speculation. I can't imagine the kind of pain and torment that drove David Phan to such a tragic end. My heart goes out to his family and community, and I just hope that his story prevents further tragedy: Teen who took his own life 'shielded family from bullying.