Boy Found Shot to Death in Elementary School Bathroom


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Members of a community in southern Arizona lived every parent's worst nightmare on Tuesday when they learned that a local elementary school was on lockdown due to the possibility of an active shooter on campus. Ultimately, no active shooter was actually located on school grounds, but parents and students are shocked and demanding answers after a 14-year-old was found dead in a school bathroom following the lockdown.

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At around 9:22 a.m., the Cochise County Sheriff's office responded to reports of an active shooter at Coronado Elementary School in Sierra Vista, Arizona. With the school on lockdown, the sheriff's deputies cased the area, quickly finding the body of a 14-year-old boy who had been shot and killed. 

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While the boy has not been publicly identified, Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels says he is hesitant to label the shooting a suicide until a thorough investigation has been completed. "It's a homicide until proven otherwise," Dannels said in a press conference shared by the Sierra Vista Herald. "We want to make sure we share facts with you. We're not ruling suicide until the investigation and the facts state that."

Still, even without the death being labeled a suicide, officials say they are not looking for a suspect at this time. It was confirmed that the boy was a student at the elementary school, which houses grades kindergarten through eighth. The sheriff's office also confirmed that the staff at Coronado Elementary School handled the threat well, immediately locking down the campus and then notifying all parents of the situation through text messages and robocalls. 

After the body was found, classes at the school were canceled for the day and students were immediately bused to a local church to be picked up by their parents. Shortly after, the nearby Sierra Vista Unified School District released a statement on Facebook recounting the incident. "Please keep the students and staff of the Palominas Elementary School District in your thoughts and prayers," it said. 


Sierra Vista Unified School District/Facebook

Students are set to return to classes at Coronado Elementary School on Wednesday morning and will have access to counselors. "Our little guys didn't even know a tragedy had happened. They thought they got to hang out with cops today and that's all they knew," said Palominas Elementary School District Superintendent Marylotti Copeland during the press conference. "For our older students it's going to be much harder and we're going to be there for them."

After the incident, many parents in the area are left wondering how their children will be affected. "There's lots of questions," Codi Zetich, whose daughter attends the school, said to USA Today. "Why? How did it get that far? How can I protect my daughter in the future?"

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Mom Amanda Griggs told USA Today she kept her son home from school on Tuesday due to an illness and was shocked and devastated when she heard the news and was forced to recount it to her son. "I told him what happened because he was going to hear about it at school and his only response was, 'Why?'" she said. "I just told him that I didn't know and that, now, no one will ever know. He was shocked but had nothing else to say."

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