A far East El Paso family believes bullying at Pebble Hills High School pushed a 14-year-old boy to take his own life.
On Monday, El Paso police confirmed that the teen died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
It is not KTSM’s policy to cover suicides. However, an outreach from Pebble Hills parents prompted the station to make an exception.
Devin Kelley’s family reported in a GoFundMe account that Kelley left his home Wednesday evening at 10 p.m., possibly armed.
Socorro ISD issued what it called a “reverse evacuation” the next day at three campuses: Pebble Hills High School, Puentes Middle School and Butler Elementary School.
The order meant no one could enter or leave any of the campuses. SISD officials said the decision was made after parents reached out to them to report a missing student who may have a gun.
On Friday, according to the GoFundMe account, Kelley’s father and uncle found the boy in a nearby desert with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Students from Pebble Hills High School said, “I was shocked. Devin was a very sweet and kind guy.”
Another student said, “I was pretty shocked. I was devastated because he was the guy I used to talk to going through the hall.”
“It sucks to hear about,” said another student. “You think everything is good. I didn’t see much bullying in the school. You don’t see it then you hear something like this happen and it sucks.“
Numerous parents reached out to KTSM throughout the weekend and Monday morning with concerns that they never heard from SISD on whether the campuses were safe. SISD responded via email late Monday evening to KTSM’s questions. SISD spokesman Daniel Escobar wrote:
“In the case of the missing Pebble Hills High School student, our report to the community was that proactive actions were set in place out of an abundance of precaution. There was no confirmed threat to students or our schools. With an ongoing investigation by El Paso PD, this is all the information we are able to share.”
Meanwhile, the outreach to KTSM via Facebook, Twitter and other mediums shows what appears to be known bullying of Kelly who played in the school band. A message on the GoFundMe page reads:
“They say he was a victim of bullying but everyone seems to be shy to say who was bullying him. The teachers that allowed the bullying to go on in the band are just as responsible for the students that were making fun of him. I ask that the principals start taking action and investigate what was really happening in the school especially the band.”
Editor note: It should be noted that Kelley has the same name as the alleged Texas church shooter who killed 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Nov. 6. It is not known and has not been confirmed if Kelley was bullied as a result of this coincidence.