Teen jumps to death in La Canada

LA County's sheriff department secures the campus at La Canada High School on Friday, March 1, 2013. A student jumped from the junior high building, which was right across from the library at 3:55 p.m. He was pronounced dead later at the scene. (Cheryl A. Guerrero / La Canada Valley Sun / March 1, 2013)

A teenager apparently killed himself Friday afternoon by jumping off a building on the La Cañada High School campus, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman said.

The young man, whom officials declined to identify, was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:15 p.m., likely due to head injuries, said Lt. Brian Fitch of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station. 

At a news conference in the campus gym Friday night, La Cañada Unified Supt. Wendy Sinnette said the student “fell to his death” at about 3:55 p.m., a little more than an hour after classes let out. 

Sinnette said the fall took place atop the building that houses the middle school grades, toward the rear of the campus on Oak Grove Avenue.

“As a community, we are devastated and saddened by this loss,” Sinnette said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the student's family.”

When asked how people were coping, she replied: “This is a community that is very supportive of each other.”

She added that all school events planned for this weekend had been canceled.

Sinnette declined to provide any additional details, saying the incident remained under investigation.

Counseling will be made available to students and staff beginning Monday, Sinnette said. The district is also coordinating with Verdugo Hills Hospital to assist people who might want counseling over the weekend. More information about counseling services can be found via the “Crisis Information” link on the district website, www.lcusd.net.

The apparent suicide is reminiscent of an incident last year at neighboring Crescenta Valley High School when a sophomore, Drew Ferraro, jumped to his death from a three-story building. His parents, John and Deana Ferraro, have filed a lawsuit against the Glendale Unified School District, claiming the school failed to protect him from relentless bullying.

However, a Los Angeles County coroner's official said Drew did not mention bullying in any of four suicide notes found on his body. 

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