Tragedy hits LA High School

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By Tris DeRoma

A Los Alamos High School student died and a young man was injured in separate incidents that occurred in Los Alamos Wednesday, occurring just 30 minutes apart, according to the Los Alamos Fire Department.

The first incident occurred in the Jemez Mountains at mile marker 38, off of N.M. 4. According to officials, a 17-year-old male, identified by school authorities as Tyler Van Anne, a junior at Los Alamos High School, parked his car, got out, walked a short distance and then took his own life.

Los Alamos Police Commander Preston Ballew said the incident was handled by Sandoval County’s emergency services, with Los Alamos assisting. Van Anne later succumbed to his injuries while being treated by medical personnel.

The other incident occurred on 36th Street, where another Los Alamos man, believed to be in his 20s, apparently lacerated himself. He was taken to the hospital and his condition as of press time is unknown. Even though both incidents happened in close proximity to each other, authorities would not say if they were related.

LAFD Deputy Chief Justin Grider said the fire department responded to both situations as well, adding that this is the time of the year when the community must be extra vigilant.

“This is the time of year when we see an increased level of suicide attempts,” he said. “Keep an eye on your family, make up those lost connections, seek counseling and help each other out. Educate yourself, learn what the signs are.”

This morning, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gene Schmidt and LAHS Principal Sandra Warnock issued statements to the public and the media regarding Van Anne’s passing.

“The mood of the district is somber today as we mourn the passing of a high school student. It is a time when we grieve with family, friends, students, and staff who have lost a loved one,” Schmidt said. As we go through this difficult day and those ahead, let us work together to support each other during our time of sadness.”
Warnock added counselors are available for students and staff.

”Counselors from the high school, mid school, and elementary schools, as well as district psychologists and community resources are available for grief counseling for any student,” she said. “Counselors will follow Tyler’s class schedule today and tomorrow to ensure that grieving students will be comforted.”

Reports from students at the school this morning indicated that LAHS attendance was down markedly Thursday.

The Los Alamos Teen Center also replied with an updated schedule reflecting the recent tragic events. They are as follows:
• Michelangelo Lobato will be with us on and off throughout the day
• Aimee Schnedler (grief counselor) will be with us on and off throughout the day
• Kim Secrest (has a Masters in art therapy and counseling) will be facilitating creative/art processing/expression activities after school
• Troy Palmer is cancelling tutoring at UNM and will be at the Teen Center after school to meet with/support teens as needed
• Various youth pastors have been/are being contacted and will be present
• The TOTH church is opening upstairs spaces for gatherings of smaller groups as needed
• Starbucks is donating coffee
• Smith’s in White Rock is donating snacks (Tyler worked there as a bagger)
• The Co-op Market is donating snacks
• Home Run Pizza is donating pizzas to have after school today and possibly Friday.