Friends Mourn Teens Killed In Chula Vista Murder-Suicide

Police Say Thomas Fuchs Shot Teen Sons, Himself In Chula Vista Home

Grief counselors were available Wednesday at a South Bay high school to help students cope with the death of one of their classmates.

  • Video:County Highlights Resources To Prevent Similar Tragedy
  • Wednesday was the last day of classes at High Tech High in Chula Vista. Sean Fuchs, 15, would have been a sophomore at the school next year. Police said he and his 13-year-old brother, Kyle, were shot to death by their father, Thomas Fuchs, in their home on Bonita Verde Drive early Tuesday morning. Fuchs then set fire to the home and killed himself, police said.

    Friends described Sean as a smart student who loved comic books and graphic design.

    "He was just a wonderful guy, he always made everyone laugh, he was really smart and he knew right from wrong," said classmate Jessica Medina.

    "At first he was shy, then really energetic. We just don't know why this would happen to him," said student Aaron Nassi.

    Kyle Fuchs went to Bonita Vista Middle School. The principal told 10News Kyle was a straight-A student who took accelerated classes.

    Police said Thomas Fuchs left behind several suicide notes, but they did not disclose details.

    A family friend told 10News the former attorney and life coach was having financial problems and was at risk of losing his home and full custody of the boys. He and his wife, Maria, filed for divorce in 2007.

    Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

    County officials are highlighting the resources that are available for people who find themselves in a similar situation.

    Dr. Ruth Kenzelmann, the executive director of OptumHealth in Mission Valley, which runs the access and crisis line for the County of San Diego said the county's help line receives about 7,000 to 8,000 phone calls per month.

    Roughly 1,100 to 1,200 of those calls are sent to the crisis status and allow callers to talk with a counselor and get immediate access for help.

    Kenzelmann said some of the callers are contemplating suicide.

    "[During] the last few days, there has been an increase in those kinds of calls," she said.

    The county started a campaign one year ago called "Up2SD" to help erase the stigma of mental illness. This week, the campaign is rolling out a suicide prevention campaign that specifically targets middle-aged men. The campaign aims to the men know that there is a confidential place they can turn to for help.

    "Statistically, they have a higher prevalence for committing suicide," said Alfredo Aguirre, who is with the San Diego County Health & Human Services Department. "We are dealing with issues of perhaps denial or those individuals that just might not feel comfortably discussing what they might be struggling with."

    All three local murder-suicides in the past month have been committed by middle-aged men.

    "That is why we are here," said Kenzelmann. "They need to reach out and talk to someone.”

    If you need help, you are encouraged to call 1-800-479-3339 or visit www.up2SD.org.

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