PALMDALE (CBSLA.com) — Classmates of a 13-year-old Palmdale boy who went missing and later committed suicide said he was teased over his love of cheerleading.READ MORE: Enrollment Down 6% At LAUSD Schools
Nigel Hardy disappeared Monday morning after he became upset when he was temporarily suspended from Hillview Middle School after fighting with another student.
Hardy’s father found a suicide note from his son and discovered his gun was missing.
The teen was found dead in Kern County Monday night with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Bright Addo, a student at Hillview Middle, said Hardy was often teased and bullied for being on the A.V. Dynasty All-Stars competitive cheerleading squad.
“He was a cheerleader. And they were talking about him and stuff,” he said. “We should stop bullying people and talking stuff about people.”
Addo added, “He was cool. He was a nice guy. He was funny.”
Dustin Velazquez, Hardy’s cheerleading coach, said he wished the teen would have reached out to him.
“I wish I could have helped him more. I wish he could have come to me,” he said.READ MORE: 'Banksy: Genius Or Vandal' Exhibit To Open In Early October
Velazquez, however, told CBS2’s Amy Johnson that Hardy did talk to him about being bullied.
“He did a couple times. I told him that even myself, in high school, I cheered and people would say, ‘Oh, you’re gay.’ I’m just like, you gotta ignore it,” he said.
Counselors were on campus Wednesday to help students and staff deal with their loss. A special assembly was also held.
“Everyone was crying today,” said Addo.
The students were also given the opportunity to write messages for Hardy’s family. A community-wide vigil is planned for Thursday night.
“We’re heartbroken for the family of Nigel,” said Regina Rossall, the superintendent of the Westside Union School District. “There are no words to explain the loss of life of a 13-year-old.”
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