Otay Ranch High School students mourn loss of classmate

Steven Liu, 17, died after jumping off bridge

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Grief counselors were available at a South Bay high school Monday to help staff and students deal with the death of a student.

Police said Steven Liu took his own life by jumping off a walking bridge near Otay Ranch High School last week. That spot now has a growing memorial dedicated to Liu.

A friend of Liu's shared with 10News a Facebook message that provides a glimpse into the troubled teen's state of mind.

Liu asks the friend: "Do you ever feel like people get what they don't deserve ... I feel like I want to die."

Over the weekend, friends held a vigil for the teen as they tried to make sense of the tragedy.

Some told 10News Liu was a victim of bullying. However, police and school officials said they do not believe that played a role in his death. Some students seem to agree.

"It wasn't bullying," said friend Adrian Hernandez. "I don't think it was bullying. I think he was just a special guy … You really had to treat him in a very special way."

Students wore neon shirts and brought luggage to school because they said that is how most remember seeing their classmate.

Stan Collins, a consultant with the San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council, says the students are dealing with a range of emotions, including anger, guilt and shame.

He says suicide is a complex issue and not to be blamed on one thing.

"It's the result of many factors in a person's life … Typically, there's many factors whether that's stress, mental illness, inability to cope with stress," said Collins.

Alex Hernandez, one of Liu's cross country teammates, told 10News Liu was autistic and was often misunderstood.

"We tried to get him to relax, knowing the type of person he was," said Hernandez. "If you could get him to sit there and talk it out, he would lay back."

But recently, Hernandez said he noticed Liu was making unusual comments on social media. Hernandez said he asked for help.

"When I got to school, I went straight to my coach, and I showed him and I said he needs some help," said Hernandez. "I don't want him to hurt himself or anyone else."

Nadege M. Johnson, grants and communications manager with the Sweetwater Union High School District, issued this statement:

"On Friday evening, the Otay Ranch High community suffered an untimely and tragic loss. Sixteen year-old Senior, Weijian "Steven" Liu passed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Liu family for their loss.

At this time the reasons for his action have not been determined. Our focus is on supporting students and staff.

Counselors and school psychologists will be available throughout the week to provide support for students and staff.

Information about funeral services will be shared based upon the family's wishes.

We know that the Mustang community will come together to support one another through this difficult time."

 

County Suicide Prevention Resources
County Suicide Prevention Hotline:
1-888-724-7240

 

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