11-year-old dies after apparently shooting himself during online class, sheriff’s office says

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Warning: This news story mentions suicide involving a child.

WOODBRIDGE, Calif. (KTXL) — An elementary school student died Wednesday after the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office says he appears to have shot himself while logged into a class for school.

The sheriff’s office has identified him as an 11-year-old student from Woodbridge Elementary School.

“This is a traumatic situation for anyone. Even if you don’t have kids, this hits everyone,” said San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Sandra Mendez.

The sixth-grader was at home with his older sister Wednesday morning around 11 a.m. when deputies say he shot himself in the head during the distance learning class.

“Detectives are investigating this as a suicide,” Mendez explained.

His sister, who was also on a separate school Zoom call at the time, heard the gunshot from the other room.

“The little girl who was on Zoom came back screaming to her classmates that her brother was hurt and ended up running across the street to a neighbor’s house, and the neighbor’s the first one that called us. And other calls followed by other parents or grandparents of the other students in her class reporting they had just seen this on Zoom and she needed help,” Mendez said.

When deputies arrived at the home on Sterling Avenue, they say the boy was still breathing.

They took him to an area hospital where he later died.

Deputies say they believe the child’s Zoom video and audio were off at the time of the shooting but the Lodi Unified School District acknowledged the impact the loss may have on students and staff.

Lodi Unified School District Superintendent Cathy Nichols-Washer released a statement soon after his death was reported.

We are deeply saddened to share that a student from Woodbridge Elementary School passed away today as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Counseling and bereavement support services are available to students and staff during this difficult time. 

Our thoughts are with the family affected by this terrible tragedy. We also offer our condolences to the Woodbridge Elementary community.

If you have concerns about your child’s reaction to this loss, please contact your child’s school site for support services.

Cathy Nichols-Washer, Lodi Unified School District Superintendent

“It’s such a tragic, tragic situation for the sister and the parents and all the students,” Mendez said.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide or is in emotional distress and needs someone to speak to, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-273-8255.

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