PALMDALE (CBSLA.com) — Hundreds gathered in Palmdale Thursday night for a tearful vigil in memory of a 13-year-old boy who committed suicide after he was bullied and teased for being a cheerleader.
Nigel Hardy, a seventh-grader at Hillview Middle School, was found dead Monday night in Kern County from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Earlier that day, his father found a suicide note and discovered his gun missing.
Friends said just before he took his own life, Hardy was suspended from school for a fight involving bullying.
Domanic Sorosjinda said, “He always had a smile on his face. He was loving. To know that he could have talked to us, we could’ve helped, that’s one of the hardest parts.”
Hardy was a member of the A.V. Dynasty All-Stars competitive cheerleading squad. Sorosjinda said Hardy loved the sport, but it also brought him pain.
“You hear it every day. ‘You’re a male cheerleader, you must be gay,’” he said.
Cheerleader Shane Bigelow said, “I believe the gym was his escape. When he was there, that’s when he was the happiest.”
School administrators said they wanted students to know that suicide is never the option.
“There are adults in your life you can speak to…his choice is not the choice that we want to see made,” said Principal Rob Garza.
Hardy’s mother and brother were too emotional to speak at the community-wide vigil, but appreciated the support.