Community in shock after student takes own life near school - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Community in shock after student takes own life near school

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by Noel Brennan

FAIRFIELD - A Central Texas community is in shock after a high school student took his own life before school Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, Fairfield Police are trying to figure out how the teenager got his hands on a gun.

Before the morning bell rang at Fairfield High Tuesday, the sound of a single gunshot echoed from the park behind the school. Students like Jeffrey "J.J." Spearman knew something happened, but they didn't know what.

"I knew something was up,"said Spearman. "We thought somebody had broken into the school or something, but we didn't expect anything like this."

Fairfield Police say a 15 year-old student shot himself in the chest. His body was found by a playground park bench at around 7:45 Tuesday morning. Police say he's a resident of the Pleasant Hills Children's Home just outside Fairfield.

Jeffrey Spearman had 7th period Spanish class with the teen. He described him as a friend and a talented artist.

"He wasn't a really outspoken kid except for around lunchtime when he had his drawings spread out," Spearman explained. "People would make requests. He'd draw them just to see if he could do it."

Others told similar stories of a quiet, artistic kid, but not one who'd carry around a gun.

"We'd like to know where [the gun] came from," said Fairfield Assistant. Police Chief, William Rogillio. "We want to know how it got into his possession."

Surveillance cameras at Fairfield High captured the teenager inside the school building just after 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. Parents wanted to know if he had a gun with him.

"How did he get a gun past the school?" Asked Jeff Spearman. "Did he take the bus to school this morning and plan to do this or did he have other intentions? That's what scared me."

Police might not be able to answer all of those questions. They've sent the gun off to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives for analysis.

Meantime, friends, students, teachers and a community are mourning the loss of one of their own.

Fairfield I.S.D. Superintendent, Katie Ryan, released the following statement in response to the incident:

"Fairfield ISD experienced a great loss today.  One of our high school students chose to end his life as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  The tragic incident occurred in the early morning at the City of Fairfield Park.  The young man was relatively new to our school district and was proving to be a very talented artist.

Our deepest condolences go to the family and loved ones.  The Fairfield school community is doing everything we can to provide comfort and assistance to the child's family and to our students in this time of grief.  Fairfield ISD has assembled a team of counselors and clergy to support our students in need.  We encourage our students to talk to these professionals about this event or any other concerns.

Our hearts go out to all who are connected to this loss; you are in our thoughts and prayers.  Funeral arrangements for the young man have not been finalized at this time."

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