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A 14-year-old student died following an apparent suicide at a rural Arkansas high school, prompting a lockdown of the school’s campus Wednesday, officials said.

Cleburne Sheriff Chris Brown and Concord Police Chief Willie Baker said in a joint statement that officers responded around 12:40 p.m. after a school employee heard a gunshot come from the cafeteria bathroom.

“When he went to check the bathroom, he located a student in the bathroom with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head,” the statement read.

Cleburne County coroner Warren Olmstead confirmed that his office responded to Concord High School and was investigating after a student fatally shot himself.

Authorities said the student was a 14-year-old in the eighth grade and described the shooting at an “isolated incident.”

Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the school as the school remained locked down for an unknown amount of time.

Officers searched students’ belongings and lockers before sending them home for the day, authorities said.

The identity of the student who died wasn’t immediately available. Olmstead declined to release the student’s name or age because he was unsure if his family had been notified.

He said the student died from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The 459-student district runs a kindergarten through sixth-grade school and a high school campus for grades seventh and up in Concord, a rural city just less than 100 miles northeast of Little Rock.

School officials canceled classes for the remainder of the week and will have grief counselors available when students and teachers return on Monday.

Doug Bradberry, school safety coordinator for the Arkansas Department of Education, said his office was aware of the shooting but had no information beyond the Cleburne County sheriff’s statement.

Schools are required to submit reports to the state Department of Education when there’s a shooting on campus.

The latest school shooting comes less than a month after a 14-year-old student brought a handgun into a Prescott high school and shot another student, according to officials there.

Authorities there haven’t charged the student suspected in the shooting and the student who was shot was released from the hospital days after.

The phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK.

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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Archived Comments

  • 0boxerssuddenlinknet
    April 24, 2019 at 3:40 p.m.

    heartbreaking. but how did the student get a gun on campus ? since the uptick in school shootings i "assumed " most informed school districts had initiated at least some sort of firearm detectors in the schools ? guess not such a shame.

  • Foghorn
    April 24, 2019 at 4:03 p.m.

    While I’m sure there are numerous issues at play here - mental health issues if a student did commit suicide - it shouldn’t be possible for a minor to obtain a gun. I’m guessing parental negligence will also come into play as it has with every other school shooting.

  • GeneralMac
    April 24, 2019 at 4:12 p.m.

    A shame for students that witnessed it.

    I have had 15 people I knew well who committed suicide.......realatives, friends, co-workers.

    Thankfully I never actually witnessed it being done.

  • TheBatt
    April 24, 2019 at 4:17 p.m.


    While parental issues may (or may not) have been a major part of this horrible situation, you jumped to a pretty big conclusion that this is negligence (apparently referring to the possession of a firearm).

    It is not hard for a kid (or adult), with or without a criminal record, to get ahold of a gun. We have juvenile gang members all over LR that have guns - they mostly didn't get them from a negligent parent.

  • Seitan
    April 24, 2019 at 4:33 p.m.

    If we required gun insurance, and actually held gun owners responsible for what happens with their deadly weapons, we might see less kids getting a hold of loaded guns. But right now, it happens all the time, and we do nothing.

  • mrcharles
    April 24, 2019 at 5:22 p.m.

    GM, it appears you have had more than your fair share of tragedies in that aspect. I have known 6, and that was sad enough. First one when I was in elementary school , dealing with a classmate,an awful sight to come upon. A child dying this way is extra sad.

    Wish people would seek problems with mental health instead of just toughing it out, if not for their sake but the sake of their friends and love ones. But we all know of the stigma .

  • BobfromMarion
    April 24, 2019 at 5:47 p.m.

    Of course every reasonable attempt to prevent guns from being on school campuses should be taken. However, that does not mean that school employees will be able to prevent guns from ever appearing on school campuses. Nor does it mean that the school, the parents, faculty or other students are automatically at fault when it happens.

    Calling off school until next Monday was a very wise choice. Keeping the school on lock down until the school authorities know they have a handle on this is also wise.

    The professionals will review all the procedures of this school concerning guns and other instruments of violence. They may find some additional steps the school can take to help prevent this happening again.

    The adults in charge at school and at home apparently did not see this coming. Perhaps there can be some strategies put in place to identify other students about to do this before the students harm themselves or kill themselves or others.

    We all need to step back and realize that there will be people who try to or do commit suicide. Unfortunately, there are no strategies available that if followed will guarantee this can never happen again.

    There is enough hurt over this without everyone jumping in as experts to declare who is or who is not at fault. Sometimes in these cases, we never know what could have been done before hand to prevent this kind of tragedy. We don't have the luxury of looking into the future and see who is about to lose it all. This only happens in fiction.

    We don't want each school day starting with total strip searches including cavity searches. All walls being turned into glass so everything that anybody did no matter how personal would be on view for everyone to see everything. Nothing from home could be brought to school including cell phones, food or clothes for PE. Perhaps we could have students wear shackles and hand restraints.

    Even if we did all that, some student might swallow a bomb timed to go over at a particular time. No one could possibly know until the bomb exploded that the bomb was in the stomach of a student.

    Being more attentive to students with emotional and mental issues could help a lot if the right strategies were put into place. Unfortunately, getting the right strategies is easier said that done. Still, trying to pinpoint which students might be candidates to commit suicide is the best one single thing to do.

  • Foghorn
    April 24, 2019 at 6 p.m.

    BATT - Maybe you’re right, maybe not. I don’t recall a prior gang related suicide but I lead a sheltered life. If it turns out the gun involved did not belong to the victim’s parents, I issue my apology here. If it turns out it was taken from parents, I will expect an apology.

  • Testingonetwothree
    April 24, 2019 at 6:35 p.m.

    Comments on the comments...Gun detectors? You mean metal detectors? It would be noon by the time you ran all the kids through one.... gun insurance??? We require car insurance and drivers licenses and many don’t bother with either.... gang members have guns but don’t comment suicide. They kill others ...

  • Packman
    April 24, 2019 at 6:51 p.m.

    Foggy is one despicable p o s, using this terrible tragedy to promote a political narrative. Truly despicable.
    And seitan doubles down on despicable with her use of a tragedy to promote a political narrative.