Schools respond after Falmouth teenager takes his own life

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FALMOUTH — An Inverness Road teenager died Wednesday of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, after police received several calls about the boy’s safety.

Police Lt. John Kilbride said officers were told the 17-year-old had posted a message on Facebook about harming himself. He declined to identify the boy, who was at home at the time of his death, because he was a minor.

“We went up and set up a perimeter around a house to tried to establish communication with him,” Kilbride said.

Kilbride said officers heard a gunshot, were not sure if they were being shot at, and kept watching the house. Police then called in the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Team.

Kilbride said police received the first call about the boy just before 3 p.m. His body was found about three hours later.

“It’s very sad for the officers, for this agency and for this community,” Kilbride said.

The boy’s parents were reportedly at work at the time, Kilbride said.

Police closed Winn Road from Field Road to Woodville Road Wednesday afternoon for about three hours. He said two or three homes in the area were evacuated for safety reasons.

Kilbride said police typically respond to two or three distraught calls per week, and they typically are negotiated to peaceful conclusions. He said he did not have information about whether police had previously responded to the boy’s home.

Although schools are on vacation this week, Superintendent of Schools Geoff Bruno said the School Department opened the high school at 8 a.m. Thursday for students and staff who want to gather.

“We will be here for as long as we need to be today, and will open tomorrow as well, if necessary,” Bruno said. “I am spending all of my time focused on our students, families, and staff. “

Kilbride said the school resource officer would also be at the high school.

A School Department statement said counselors, administrators and staff will be available to support students, families and faculty.

“We lost one of our high school students today,” said the statement released Wednesday night. “… Our thoughts and actions are with our student’s family and friends.”

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.