CV High student's death was an apparent suicide, officials say

CV High student's death was an apparent suicide, officials say
Parents walk towards the football field to pick up their children at Crescenta Valley High School after a student reportedly jumped from a building at the La Crescenta school on Friday February 10, 2012. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)

Los Angeles County sheriff's officials on Friday said a 15-year-old boy appeared to have killed himself by jumping off a three-story building at Crescenta Valley High School at the beginning of lunch period.

At a news conference on the campus Friday, sheriff's Lt. John Corina said the sophomore seemed to take a running start before jumping off the ledge at about 12:30 p.m.

Later that evening, coroner's officials identified the boy as Drew Ferraro. Within hours of the incident, friends and classmates filled Ferraro's Facebook page with memories and condolences.

"Drew, I love u so much … I will miss u so much. U were one of the nicest and funniest [people] I met. I wish I could tell you in person. I love you so much. R.I.P," one note read.

School officials began evacuating the campus at about 1 p.m., and investigators began talking to students, some of whom watched Ferraro fall.

"It was lunchtime — a lot of kids were out there on campus," Corina said, adding that the investigation remained ongoing. "We are talking to a lot of kids right now. Some of them saw, some of them did not."

Bullying didn't appear to be a factor in the incident, he added, even as parents and students at the campus worried that it may have been a factor.

"As a district, we take bullying very seriously," Glendale Unified Supt. Dick Sheehan said.

The high school held a student assembly last week to address bullying and methods for coping.

The teenager didn't appear to say anything before the incident, Corina said, adding that detectives were looking into whether he left a note.

He advised students to notify the school if they witnessed the fall.

A few minutes after the bell rang for lunch, Crescenta Valley High freshman Myles Dalmau said he heard a thud, adding that at first he thought it was a gunshot.

Then about two dozen people crowded around the fallen student who was face-down and motionless.

"My friend was there when it happened. He fell a few feet away from her," Dalmau said. "It was pretty disturbing."

The fall reportedly took place near the administration building on a concrete plaza area. Teachers quickly rushed in — one staff member pulled an umbrella from a lunch table to cover up the grisly scene.

"They covered him within a few minutes," Dalmau said.

Administrators called parents to pick up their children shortly afterward. The traffic that ensued as parents converged on the school had some frustrated, but the mood on campus was one of disbelief.

"It's pretty shocking," said Jeff Choi, 16.

District officials said they would have grief counselors stationed at the campus for days as the student body — which had just gone through an emotional staged crash to illustrate the dangers of drunk driving the day before — struggled to cope with the real-life tragedy.

The school district posted a statement on its website Friday expressing condolences to the family.

"Our thoughts are with the family at this very difficult time," Sheehan said in the statement. "Our first concern is for the well-being of all of our students. Together with our supportive community, we will help our students get through this."

Staff writer Megan O'Neil contributed to this report.