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(PA) Student kills himself at school with father's gun

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by TheOtherOne, Jun 14, 2003.

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  1. TheOtherOne

    TheOtherOne Member

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    Student kills himself at school with father's gun
    Saturday, June 14, 2003 Posted: 9:18 AM EDT (1318 GMT)


    WELLSBORO, Pennsylvania (AP) -- As he waited with his tractor-trailer to pick up a load of coal from a mine, David W. Roby used his cell phone for what would be his last conversation with his 12-year-old son. Before they hung up, he made sure Davey was getting ready for school and said he loved him.

    An hour later the camouflage-clad fifth-grader was dying on a school bathroom floor of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Seven of his father's guns and hundreds of bullets were strewn around him.

    Although relatives said they saw no warning signs, Davey's classmates told police that he was picked on by other pupils and had talked for months about killing students and teachers at the 548-student Rock L. Butler Middle School.

    Roby, 44, is left with a heartache that won't go away and, like others in this picturesque community 15 miles south of the New York state line in central Pennsylvania, more questions than answers.

    "We wonder if there was something going on inside that we just couldn't see," the father said Thursday, three days after the funeral.

    The shooting, the third school suicide in Pennsylvania in two months, took place shortly before the start of classes on June 4. Three friends who had been in the bathroom with Davey left when they saw the guns, and school officials say one of them went to tell staff members.

    After a fifth-grade teacher looked into the bathroom and confirmed Davey had the guns, the school started an emergency lockdown. A police officer responding to the call was about 30 feet from the bathroom when the boy put a Colt .45 handgun to the side of his head and pulled the trigger.

    "We all heard a gunshot but everyone thought it was thunder," said 13-year-old sixth-grader Kristen Smith, who said Davey was "really shy" and got picked on because he weighed nearly 170 pounds.

    The three other boys were stunned to see the arsenal Davey pulled from his father's scuba-diving bag that morning, said Tioga County District Attorney John F. Cowley. Authorities believe the other boys had not signed on to any school-attack plan, he said.

    "I think in the end a scared little boy took his life because he was just cornered and he didn't know what to do," Roby said.

    Roby believes that his son was acting out a child's fantasy and didn't intend to hurt anyone. He also suspects the other boys had indeed been part of the planning, citing the number of weapons involved as well as an incident in his own office the night before.

    Davey and another boy were role-playing an espionage game with toy guns and ski masks. The game may have been practice for an assault on the school the next morning, the father said.

    Roby said he does not blame the other boys for Davey's death. "These kids are devastated. I took time (at the funeral) to hug them and tell them that there's no hard feelings."

    A hunter like many others in Tioga County, Roby enrolled his son in a hunter-safety course and made sure his own weapons were locked up. But in a fateful twist, he hung the key on a wall hook after finding it underneath the couch just two days earlier.

    Roby speculated that after he left the house, Davey used the key to take the two handguns, three rifles, two shotguns and ample ammunition.

    "He chose what I would say were his favorite firearms. He wasn't afraid to shoot the big guns and he liked them," Roby said.

    The father felt he could trust his son, who he described as an obedient boy who spent the night before his death doing laundry and other chores.

    But the file from his parents' 1997 divorce at the county courthouse indicates Davey received psychiatric treatment and that his mother expressed concerns about "psychotic" and "uncontrollable" violent outbursts.

    The mother, Sharon Peet of Middlebury Center, did not return several telephone messages this week. Phone messages left with Roby on Friday seeking comment on the divorce records were not immediately returned.

    Father and son lived alone in an unincorporated village known as Broughton Hollow, next-door to remnants of a propane business that Roby's father once operated.

    An average student, Davey played sports, was active in a church youth group, loved fishing, and had recently discovered a passion and talent for go-cart racing. He won a third-place trophy during his first race.

    Although Davey enjoyed playing "Metal Gear Solid," a commando-themed video game, his interests had lately evolved toward car-racing and flight-simulation games, his father said.

    Davey did not leave a note, and a police examination of his computer and reading habits turned up no obvious clues about his reason for killing himself.

    "You never can (tell) with a suicide, really," said Tioga County Coroner James Wilson. "Somebody's pretty desperate."


    http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/06/14/school.suicide.ap/index.html
     
  2. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    When I was a junior in high school, the guy whose locker was immediately to the left of mine shot himself with a .22 caliber rifle. I've known several other suicides since then.

    I've come to believe there are no answers: only questions.
     
  3. blades67

    blades67 Member

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    That's really sad.:(
     
  4. Feanaro

    Feanaro Member

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    A sad tale but as with most suicides a cowardly one as well.
     
  5. Darrin

    Darrin Member

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    A permanent end to a temporary problem. :(
     
  6. Dorian

    Dorian Member

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    I like that.... Too bad they didn't know...

    Metal Gear Solid is an espionage-themed video game. You get the highest score if you don't kill anyone.

    I'm not trying to seem apathetic. I just see the media trying to connect things with a slight of hand.
     
  7. S_O_Laban

    S_O_Laban Member

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    Looks like the warning signs were there, evidently no one took them very seriously. Very sad, no one wins.
     
  8. telewinz

    telewinz Member

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    The question I ask myself is what could be done? Kids(and some adults) can be very mean and insensitive to each other in our culture and often times the solution(s) available are not a cure. Talking to an adult or seeking assistance more often than not is a temporary fix and can often make the problem/embrassment worse. School age kids tend to be insecure about their self-worth and act this out by preying on anyone who may be a little different. Sadly, a 70 lb overweight 10 year old boy would be a prime target for verbal abuse from his speers. So the warning signs were there, so what. Was David likely to lose 70+ pounds, gain self-esteem and solve the problem? Were his speers suddenly "going to see the light and take the high road?".

    I was taught (and I believe) that suicide is an escape from pain, it's an action of last resort. Recently a mountain climber cut his arm off to make his escape, was that cowardly? What effective advise is their for the 1000's of kids out there right now experiencing David's pain? Do you suspend half the school who makes fun of them? Maybe we need to teach a course to our kids (and some adults) dealing with self esteem and people appreciation. Deeds are what SHOULD count, not pleasing looks or speech. I wonder how much abuse Gandi would have to put up with in our modern day schools? Talk about being different!
     
  9. PCRCCW

    PCRCCW Member

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    This is very very sad.................a permanent solution to a temporary problem is ssssssssoooooooooo accurate. Its a shame that kids feel a pressure that some cant discuss with their parents....
    If the school environment, kids and teachers, knew of his suicidal tendancies and didnt alert the father..........thats truely tragic.
    It makes me sick to think a 13 year old boy considers himself desperate enough to take himself out..............
    Shoot well
     
  10. cool45auto

    cool45auto Member

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    With the other school shootings that have happened I can't believe they didn't take this more seriously considering the signs.
     
  11. 280PLUS

    280PLUS Member

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    at least it wasn't worse,,,

    no answers, only questions,,,that sums it up for me too

    its too bad kids can't get around picking on the weak ones because this is what it can lead to

    the 12 yo step-daughter i talk about once in a while gets picked on a lot. her problem is she retaliates immediately and then ends up being the one in trouble.

    took a while to make the "educators" grasp that concept

    recently another little girl was caught passing a note SPECIFICALLY concerning how she and the girl she was passing it to were going to set up our kid and get her in trouble again.

    that opened a few eyes, finally

    anyhow the other reason i wanted to post is to mention guns locked up with keys, one slip up with the keys and this is what can occur.

    i have a combination lock on mine and there only one person in the whole world that knows the combo

    me, in my head

    thats the only way i can feel those guns will NEVER EVER EVER leave without my knowledge

    and i know that doesnt mean they cant be burglarized, if someone REALLY wants something you have we all know they can most likely get it

    sorry to see yet another tragic story like this

    :(
     
  12. Kentucky Rifle

    Kentucky Rifle Member In Memoriam

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    A long time ago, when I was in high school, there was a very popular guy in the class just a year in front of me. He seemed to have everything. In his freshman year of college, he hung himself from a foul ball post on the baseball diamond. Nobody could ever figure out why. I still think about him.
    I have this "need" to figure out things, but sometimes the answers go with the person. Sad, very sad.

    KR
     
  13. Mastrogiacomo

    Mastrogiacomo Member

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    A little cold calling this a cowardly act. It's an act of desperation -- let's leave our personal feelings out it. Very tragic that this boy felt there was no way out. More tragic that it took something like this for the school to recognize the problem.
     
  14. Feanaro

    Feanaro Member

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    I don't think it was cold. I feel for the kid, I've been there. I never heard the end of it at school. It's a tragedy. But I call it like I see it. If that offended anyone then I apologize.
     
  15. arinvolvo

    arinvolvo Member

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    I dont feel sorry for people who kill themselves...

    Same way I dont feel sorry for drunk drivers who get in a wreck and kill themselves...


    People who think that killing themselves solves problems are people that I dont want to know anyhow. These are people that cant deal with the stresses of everyday life...because maybe they werent wired correctly.

    And if this sounds cold...you are right it is...too bad...that is the way I feel.

    I feel sorry for the people who fight to hold on to their lives, yet loose them anyhow...Like my 19 year old cousin who died of cancer....Never once did she put a pistol in her mouth.

    People need to sack up, and stop taking the easy way out.
     
  16. mummac

    mummac Member

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    That is really easy for us to say as adults, but this is about a 12 year old boy. I agree with you to a certain extent, however the perspective of a person that young doesn't extend much past daily life. Who knows how long he was overwhelmed with self-doubt or even self-hatred.

    I remember a girl in elementary school that kids picked on constantly for years. Her parents finally moved her to a different school. Whether she was "wired correctly" or not, she was put down for almost half of her life. That had to have been pretty damaging to her physche.
     
  17. 280PLUS

    280PLUS Member

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    Who knows how long he was overwhelmed with self-doubt or even self-hatred.

    or was so sick and tired of it all and saw no other way out

    he obviously had plans of taking a few of his tormentors with him

    i still can't believe that after all thats happened like this in the past already and with the "new awareness" of this problem that he went around yakking about it and not one person thought to take note of it or one kid to mention it to a teacher or something.

    arrin will change his views once he has a kid or two roaming around...
     
  18. bigjim

    bigjim Member

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    Yes that littel boy should have been brave, just like everyone here. :uhoh: :banghead:
     
  19. Carlos Cabeza

    Carlos Cabeza Member

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    Seems the kid got what he wanted. Had safety training yet disobeyed the rules he was taught. Took them to school ! :banghead: What a load to say "poor little victimized 170 lb. kid " Kids can be so cruel to anyone "different" in the slightest way. Self esteem and self confidence are values that are instilled in kids by their parents and through other sources such as church.
    :rolleyes: Everybody is different, skinny kids grow up to be horse racing jockeys, Big, heavy kids, linebackers for winning college football teams.
     
  20. LightPlanePilot

    LightPlanePilot Member

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    Several groups are at fault here, and I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the school administration.

    How blind do those overpaid babysitters have to be not to see the problems going on around them?

    Oh wait, its not in their contract. They don't have to care because its not in their course load.

    All that had to happen was for one of those adults (apparently they are responsible and highly educated) to intervene. But that didn't happen.

    I hope the entire staff feels the guilt for a long, long time.

    When it comes to schools, its always about the money. Its never about the kids.
     
  21. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Lots of good guidance around here :rolleyes:

    I thought the whole "cowardice" business went out with the last century. Suicide is hardly an easy solution. In fact, I would expect shooting yourself takes a fair amount of courage. You are, after all, facing the final curtain. I'd never have the guts to do it.
     
  22. RustyHammer

    RustyHammer Member

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    Very sad ... don't know what else to say. :(
     
  23. Feanaro

    Feanaro Member

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    You can say what you will but suicide is selfish(In most cases anyways). You might not hurt yourself but you will forever scar your friends and family. He was a child however and he might not have understood that.

    As for suicide requiring courage it depends on which side you view it from. On the one hand you have to have courage to kill yourself. But what requires greater courage, IMO, is to carry on. If you have reached the stage where you think death is better, then you must think life is much harder than death.

    Again I am not unsympathetic, I've been there and I think it's sad. But I think it's sad because he could have been helped and he left friends and family who will hurt for a long time because of him.

    /hides
     
  24. arinvolvo

    arinvolvo Member

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    Im with Feanaro, but I dont feel sorry for the boy...I feel sorry for the people that loved him....the people that he was too self centered to think about.
     
  25. Mastrogiacomo

    Mastrogiacomo Member

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    Well for those that think this kid wasn't deserving of sympathy -- stay the Hell out of grief counseling -- please....

    When I tried to kill myself, three times, I didn't think about anything or anyone but ending the pain. I'd say this boy was pretty scared and looking for help and chose the wrong solution. In the age of MCAS should it really surprise us by their lack of interest? Schools care more about a meaningless test than the emotional and social well being of children. I agree with Cosmoline that it does take courage to take your life but it's sadly misplaced. To think that at 12 years old, he already felt he future was empty. Perhaps venting to a counselor or friends might have helped, maybe he tried. then again, maybe his "friends" were of a similar mind set to a couple of posters here -- and felt he should have sucked it up and that compassion is wasted on the weak...
     
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