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More details released in school suicide

Authorities investigate the death of a student at Kingston High School on Monday morning.

More details have been released but many questions remain following the suicide of a Kingston K-14 high school student on Monday morning.

Washington County Sheriff Zach Jacobsen said the 17-year-old male went to school Monday as normal and had breakfast with his friends in the cafeteria.

“The details of that conversation (during breakfast) are not being released at this point,” said Jacobsen. “He (then) entered the restroom, which is adjacent to the gymnasium where everyone was eating breakfast, and a short time later someone walked in and observed him on the floor."

Believing he was having a medical emergency, Jacobsen explained, the student contacted a custodian in the gymnasium, who then contacted emergency services.

The young man was found deceased in a bathroom stall with a gunshot wound, and a .22 caliber handgun was found near the body.

“At that point we were summoned via 911 at 7:40 a.m. to the obvious death ... it was reported as an obvious death,” said Jacobsen. “When we arrived we found a 17-year-old white male suffering from what appears to be at this point a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.”

The sheriff said the family had been notified and the FBI had been contacted to assist in tracing the firearm and any other assistance they might offer to the investigation.

“They have assets that we don’t have access to, so we have called them in to assist,” said Jacobsen. “As part of the investigation we do a (gunshot residue kit). Sometimes they are conducted during the autopsy, but we did one today on (the) scene.”

An autopsy was scheduled for today. The sheriff stressed the autopsy would reveal additional information, and once the results were in they would be able to release more information.

“The kid is considered, by state law, an adult. But he is a student, so we won’t be releasing his name at this point. I just don’t want to release his name just yet," Jacobson added.

When the family was notified they said they had purchased the handgun and that it belonged to them.

“It’s just always easier for us to know where the gun came from," the sheriff said. "We can get details such as who was the original owner of the gun and how did a 17-year-old kid get his hands on (it). You can find out a lot of different things through the (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) and the FBI. They have the capabilities to trace those things.”

A family member told sheriff's department investigators that they had recently purchased the pistol from an individual.

When asked if anyone heard the gunshot, Jacobsen said reportedly no one heard it because it was really loud in the cafeteria.

The other students were sent home at 9 a.m.

Kingston K-14 School District Superintendent Alex McCaul drafted a letter to parents and guardians regarding the student death. 

Te letter was sent out to inform parents and guardians that the incident involved only one student and was being investigated by the Washington County Sheriff's Department. 

A team of counselors were assembled to provide support for students and staff. A team of counselors were made available for students and staff returning to class today.

There will also be additional qualified staff available to counsel students as needed for the remainder of the week.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or



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