Suicide near Capital High prompts lockdown of Helena schools

Nolan Lister

A student’s death by suicide in a parking lot across the street from Capital High School prompted the lockdown of three Helena schools Friday afternoon, authorities said. 

The 16-year-old boy was found with a fatal gunshot wound in the parking lot of Helena Nazarene Church at 117 Valley Drive, where a prayer vigil was held that evening. The boy was a student a Capital High School, Helena Public Schools Superintendent Rex Weltz said in a message posted on Facebook. 

Helena Police Department Capt. Brett Petty said calls for service began to come in around 12:30 p.m. Petty said one of the initial callers reported seeing a juvenile heading toward Capital High with a gun, which triggered a large law enforcement response.

Three officers were dispatched to the church, where some callers said a gunshot was heard, while the rest of the officers descended on the high school.

All HPD officers on shift at the time responded to the scene, and the area around the school was blocked off.

In addition, two HPD communication staff members, all HPD detectives, Montana Highway Patrol and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks responded to the scene. 

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