The victim's computer audio and video were turned off at the time but his sister was in class, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office said

Advertisement
Woodbridge, California 11-Year-Old Calif. Boy Dies By Suicide During Zoom Class, Police Say
Credit: San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office

An 11-year-old California boy has died while he was attending distance learning classes from a self-Inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.

Deputies responded just after 11 a.m. on Wednesday to reports that a person had been shot in a house in Woodbridge, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Upon arrival, deputies found a juvenile with a head injury who was rushed to a nearby hospital.

The sheriff’s office said the child died of his injuries several hours later.

"We are deeply saddened to report that based on the preliminary findings, an 11-year-old student from Woodbridge Elementary School has passed away due to injuries from a self-inflicted gunshot wound," authorities said on Facebook.

When contacted by PEOPLE on Friday, Deputy Sandra Mendez, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said the investigation is “still ongoing.”

“We have been hearing that family members have been reaching out to several different media outlets claiming [it was accidental],” says Mendez. “Sadly, the preliminary findings indicate this was an intentional act, not an accident.”

Mendez told the Stockton Record that the child and his sister were both attending virtual schooling when the incident occurred.

She said the victim’s computer audio and video were not turned on when the gun fired, but that his sister heard from a separate room and ran to check on him.

RELATED VIDEO: Introducing PEOPLE's New Mental Health Initiative: Let’s Talk About It

After finding him injured, she alerted her Zoom classroom and ran to the home of a neighbor, who called 911, ABC affiliate KXTV reported.

“The sister [came] here, banging on the door,” a neighbor who called for help told NBC affiliate KCRA. “That little boy was one the nicest little boys you’ll ever want to know. He was special. Easygoing. He was the type of person who would never hurt anybody. Soft-spoken, with a beautiful smile."

Mendez

The child was a sixth-grader at Woodbridge Elementary School, which offered its condolences in a statement shared by Lodi Unified School District Superintendent Cathy Nichols-Washer.

“We are deeply saddened to share that a student from Woodbridge Elementary School passed away today as a result of a gunshot wound,” Nichols-Washer wrote. “Counseling and bereavement support services are available to students and staff during this difficult time.”

“Our thoughts are with the family affected by this terrible tragedy. We also offer our condolences to the Woodbridge Elementary community,” she added.

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs also offered his condolences to the child’s family and friends.

“During this time, we have to check in on each other and our children, and know that community is the antidote to crisis,” he wrote on Twitter. “We have to prioritize our children as we persist through this pandemic.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.