TAYLORSVILLE -- Authorities have determined that a 14-year-old boy who committed suicide outside a school in a Salt Lake City suburb obtained the gun from a safe at his home before killing himself in front of several students as classes were getting out.
Unified Police and Granite School District identified the boy on Friday as David Q. Phan, and school officials said he had been in counseling for years for significant personal issues. They did not elaborate on the nature of the issues.
Phan was released early to his mother at 1:30 p.m. Thursday from Bennion Junior High in Taylorsville before he returned an hour and a half later to a corner of the school campus, where he shot himself in front of students around 3 p.m., police and school officials said.
Ben Horsley, a spokesman for Granite School District, said the early dismissal was related to Phan's personal problems.
At home, Phan dialed a combination for the gun safe his family didn't believe he knew, Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said.
With the gun, the boy left home, crossed a skybridge over a busy street and stopped at a corner of the school grounds, at least 100 yards short of the school, where he had a short exchange with the other students before shooting himself, Hoyal said.
It wasn't immediately known what Phan said before turning the gun on himself.
The school officials refused to detail the nature of Phan's personal problems. However, they disputed reports circulating on social media that he had been subject to bullying.
Phan appears to have been a subject of gossip, but no verbal assaults, and previously told school counselors he was not a target of bullying, reporting instead that "things were going well," Horsley said.
Administrators and counselors said they checked into reports of bullying long ago and had since maintained close contact with Phan.
A grief counselor went from classroom to classroom Friday. The school said it was encouraging his classmates to voice their grief over the suicide.