Teen Shoots Self After Breakup

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– A seventeen-year-old Park Forest man took his life after his girlfriend told him she was leaving him.

Officers Kessler and Lara were dispatched to a residence in the 300 block of South Orchard Drive on Wednesday, May 20, at 10:20 p.m., to investigate a 911 hang-up call. Officer Lara was the first officer to arrive on the scene. She spoke with a 15-year-old female who was in the living room. She allowed her to enter the residence. Officer Kessler arrived shortly afterward, observing that the juvenile was in hysterics, breathing heavily, and crying, according to police.

The teenager stated that her boyfriend, later identified as Carvis R. Johnson, 17, 305 S. Orchard Drive, Park Forest, had shot himself. Additional police units and paramedics were requested. Officers Kessler, Lara, and Corporal Sheets entered a bedroom where they were told they would find Johnson. Officer Kessler observed Johnson on the bedroom floor at the foot of the bed, with an apparent gunshot wound to the head. Paramedics attended to Johnson and found no signs of life, according to police.

The teenager told police that she had been dating Johnson for the past 14 to 16 months. The two had broken up in the past and gotten back together, but Johnson had told her that if she ever broke up with him again, he would kill himself, according to police.

According to police, Johnson became distraught on this date when he was told that his girlfriend was leaving him. According to police, he took out a gun and reminded her what would happen if she were to break up with him. She asked him to stop what he was doing, turned to get her jacket, at which time she heard a bang and observed that he had shot himself.

The incident was turned over to the Detective Division for further investigation.

Risk Factors for Suicide

The Mayo Clinic web site lists several risk factors. Factors that put people at higher risk include:

  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Having a psychiatric disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or personality disorders
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • A family history of mental disorders or substance abuse
  • A family history of suicide
  • Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
  • Firearms in the home
  • A significant medical illness, such as cancer or chronic pain

Potential warning signs of suicide

While stressing that some people don’t reveal any suicidal feelings or actions, the Mayo Clinic web site lists some typical warning signs:

  • Talking about suicide, including making such statements as “I’m going to kill myself,” “I wish I were dead” or “I wish I hadn’t been born”
  • Securing the means to commit suicide, such as getting a gun or stockpiling pills
  • Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone
  • Dramatic mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next
  • Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence
  • Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
  • Engaging in risky or self-destructive behavior, such as using drugs or driving recklessly
  • Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order
  • Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again
  • Developing personality changes, such as becoming very outgoing after being shy

Hopeline Network and Suicide Prevention Hotline

Park Forest resident Joanna LaBelle, NCC LPC, who also serves as a guidance counselor at Marian Catholic High School, provided the following comments in light of this tragic event, “Suicide is a very permanent solution for what may feel like an overwhelming obstacle in your or someone else’s life. Remember to take the feelings of hopelessness seriously. There are people who will listen and help and really care. If you are in need of help please call the hotline number or contact a counselor, teacher, clergy, doctor, parent, or friend. DO NOT ISOLATE YOURSELF. You do not have to be alone. Reach out immediately!”

LaBelle provided the number of the Hopeline Network, 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). She also suggested YellowRibbon.org, an organization founded for the prevention of teen suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Sources: Park Forest police reports, http://www.mayoclinic.com, http://www.hopeline.com, http://www.YellowRibbon.org