Parkland, FL – A second survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre committed suicide on Saturday night, one week after a classmate was the first survivor to kill herself.
Coral Springs police responded to a Parkland home for a report of a shooting on March 23 to find 16-year-old Calvin Desir dead of a gunshot wound to the head, the Daily Mail reported.
Desir, like his former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School classmate Sydney Aiello who committed suicide a week earlier, was at school the day of the 2018 massacre but survived.
Seventeen students and staff were murdered by a 19-year-old gunman on Feb. 14, 2018. Another 17 were wounded during the melee.
Aiello’s family has said their daughter could not handle the survivor guilt associated with surviving the shooting spree and losing friends to the gunman’s bullets.
Desir’s older sister, Brittany Wright, created a GoFundMe page to help her family with Desir’s funeral expenses and described her little brother in detail.
“My family is grieving over the loss of a wonderful and amazing son, brother, nephew, and friend,” she wrote. “As his older sister, I had the pleasure of watching Calvin grow from a child to a respectable young man. He was a fellow student at Stoneman Douglas with strong aspirations of one day becoming an engineer, which inspired him to always find new projects around the house to challenge his skills.”
“Calvin was so loving and well loved by all his peers and family,” Wright continued. “He enjoyed riding his bike with his friends, shopping, cooking and trying new recipes with his mom, performing yard work and various chores with his dad and spending quality time with our baby sister and I.”
“I can tell you firsthand that he was one of a kind, very soft spoken, and never once hurt a fly. If you ever asked him to do the simplest task, he was right on it. His selflessness and quick action to help others is something that we all deeply admired. Calvin Desir was truly special to us all and will forever live on in our hearts. We love you Calvin!” she wrote.
Devastated by the two deaths in quick succession, the city of Coral Springs quickly announced a Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday night, the Miami Herald reported.
“The tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School did not end when the gunfire stopped or when the 17 victims were laid to rest,” the Coral Springs Police Department posted on its official Facebook page. “The City of Coral Springs recognizes the anxiety and suffering continues for students, teachers and families who have experienced such violence and devastating loss.”
“In the span of one week we lost two teens from MSD to an apparent suicide. We simply cannot let the events of that day take the lives of any more of our children,” the post continued. “As a City we are committed to shining a light on those who suffer in the darkness. The mental health of our children and all those who have been affected by the MSD tragedy must be made a priority.”
Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Muncie did not officially release Desir’s identity, but tweeted that he had met with the boy’s family and gotten a sense of “what a great young man he was,” the Daily Mail reported.
Ryan Petty, who lost his 14-year-old daughter Alaina Petty in the Feb. 14, 2018 school shooting, formed a suicide prevention organization in the wake of his daughter’s death.
“The issue of suicide needs to be talked about. This is another tragic example,” Petty told the Miami Herald.
He addressed a little known statistic about the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, when 12 students and one teacher were gunned down by a classmate, the Daily Mail reported.
“When you look at Columbine as an example, almost just as many students killed themselves after the fact than in the actual shooting. That needs to change. We need to get them the help they need,” Petty said.
He said the school district was working hard to reach every parent to ask them to engage with their children on the subject of suicide.
“They will be asking parents to take this issue seriously,” Petty said. “Parents cannot be afraid to ask their kids the tough questions.”
The school district plans to give parents a list of questions to ask their children, as well as a tailored list of emergency resources, the Daily Mail reported.
“I encourage you to take time to speak with your children every day. Dinners are a great time for family conversation,” Runcie suggested. “We need to remove the stigma from talking about suicide.”