Student Fatally Shoots Herself in Kansas City High School

Officials at Lee’s Summit North High School have praised the community for coming together in response to the tragedy.

A teenage student died Friday after police say she shot herself inside of Lee’s Summit North High School in greater Kansas City.

Gemesha Thomas, 17, was discovered early Friday after students reported hearing a single gunshot on the second floor of the school building. Thomas was rushed to Lee’s Summit Hospital, where she died.

A GoFundMe page created by Thomas’s family describes her as “a beautiful soul inside and out that will be missed by many.”

School officials called police after reports of a gunshot and initially issued a soft lockdown. Students were dismissed for the day at 9:15 a.m.

“We do have a loss of life today,” Lee’s Summit Police Sergeant Chris Depue told Fox 4. “What we do want to stress though is lockdown protocols and what an amazing job the district did at making sure that other students and staff are safe as well during this incident… The district did an amazing job and made our job easier to get emergency crews in there to quickly get to that victim.”

All after school activities were cancelled and a football game was postponed until Saturday. Students attending the game wore purple in support of suicide prevention and released purple balloons during a moment of silence. Lee’s Summit North Athletic Director Mike McGurk said he’s proud of the way the school community has responded.

“These kind of events usually don’t happen in the school building,” McGurk said. “Different schools have dealt with teen suicides, but not when it happens in the building. It kind of shocks your system like, is this building still safe? I think our kids have done a great job processing that and kind of figuring it out and starting the healing process.”

The district has brought in counselors for students this week and is encouraging students to seek help if they are struggling with the tragedy. Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE.

“As you can imagine in this day of social media, information travels so quickly that we’re trying to always stay ahead of that to make sure the right information is there and the students who need help… are right there with us,” Sgt. Depue said. “We’ve got our hands on them.”

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About the Author


Zach Winn is a journalist living in the Boston area. He was previously a reporter for Wicked Local and graduated from Keene State College in 2014, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and minoring in political science.

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