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UPDATE: Person killed by train was Amador student

Original post made on Oct 29, 2007

The teen killed by a train early this morning is being identified as a junior at Amador Valley High School, pending a coronor's official report, and is said to have committed suicide, according to police.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, October 29, 2007, 10:04 AM

Comments (51)

Posted by AV Student, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 29, 2007 at 10:52 am

The Amador administration released an announcement to the students today at the beginning of 4th period (10:30) that identified the man as (comment edited), an Amador student.
The school has provided counseling services in the library, and allowed students to leave class, and teachers to host discussions with students in class. I applaud Amador's administration for the compassion and appropriateness of their response to this tragedy.


Posted by Cram, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 29, 2007 at 11:03 am

I myself is a student of Amador Valley High school. I did not, completly know him. He was a classmate of mine. However, I fine this fate tragic. As a child growing up my entire life in Pleasanton. I have found the train tracks near schools an unsafe hazard. I noticed both Pleasanton Middle School, and Amador Valley High School have trains nearby. I remember a few years back in middle school a assembly about railroad safety was shown. I guess it wasn't enough. Here goes to him. You will be missed. (Comment edited)


Posted by AV Student, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 29, 2007 at 11:09 am

I believe that the city is also trying to pass some legislature regarding "silent crossings" where trains will not have to sound their horns before crossing...


Posted by Grace, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Oct 29, 2007 at 2:15 pm

This is very sad news. As a parent of a high school student, having this suspected suicide of a teen take place so soon after the one last week makes me very sad and concerned. They may be unrelated, but I believe that extra counseling should be put in place quickly at ALL three high schools. The kids at the various high schools have long-standing connections via the middle schools and before then, sports teams. What happens at one high school has an emotional effect on ALL teens across the town. Parents, please check in with your kids tonight and listen to how they're feeling. They need to know they're dear to us, no matter what.


Posted by Bernardo Reyes, a resident of another community
on Oct 29, 2007 at 2:51 pm

Hello, I am the high school youth minister for the Catholic Community of Pleasanton. My heart and prayers goes out to the family and the Amador Community in this time of sorrow and loss. This community has been through so much this last few weeks. If anybody needs to talk please feel free to contact me.
Email: breyes@catholicsofpleasanton.org or you can call the office at 925-846-3531.


Posted by John, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 29, 2007 at 3:37 pm

A very sad day today to lose such a young life. If it was suicide then it is even sadder. In regards to Pleasanton trying to adopt silent crossings, that is true. I still support it. If this was truely suicide, it could not of been avoided either way (no horn or silent crossing). Parents need to take more responsibilities and spend more time with their kids. Know what goes on in their kids/teens lives. My parents saved mine. In regards to railroad accidents, it is good to hear that the school has programs in place to train students about safety about the tracks.


Posted by AV Student, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 29, 2007 at 3:46 pm

Personally, I don't know why people are confused whether it was suicide or accidental...in all honesty, you'd have to try really hard to get run over by a train. It is sad that this happened. Though I didn't know him personally, I have a few friends who did, and they were all very saddened by it. (comment edited)


Posted by Rob, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Oct 29, 2007 at 4:46 pm

Were the horns blown last night? I'm pretty sure they were. I live in between Harvest Park and Safeway and can always hear the trains from here- I'm pretty sure I heard train horns blaring last night and it not sounding normal- then ambulance sirens for a good couple minutes. Prayers go out to his family and friends.


Posted by MB, a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Oct 29, 2007 at 6:52 pm

Our prayers go out to the family. I can think of nothing worse than losing a child.

To the issue raised above about the quiet zone being considered by the city: the quiet zone would have no negative impact on this situation. Even in a quiet zone the train operator would still use the horn, as he/she absolutely should, in an emergency situation (ex., trespasser) or if someone was even near the tracks(ex., road/construction workers). That would not change.

Crossings which already make everyone well aware (lights, sounds, gates) that a train is coming through would be reinforced (quad-gates, medians) to make it impossible for a dangerous vehicular go- around without breaking through the gates/median.

Quiet zones actually make it harder for someone to do something he/she should not be doing! With this being the case, I, as stated by another, also support the "safe and quiet zone" that is being considered for the benefit of the community.


Posted by good neighbor, a resident of Foothill Place
on Oct 29, 2007 at 7:02 pm

i heard he was really smart


Posted by ., a resident of Birdland
on Oct 29, 2007 at 7:32 pm


I'm sorry

I'm sorry that it got to that point,
The hurt, the pain, the confusion,
I'm sorry that it got so built up,
That death was the only way out.

Why is that an option?
What have we been taught?
Is this the only answer now a day's?
The only way out?

I'm sorry that it got to that point,
The hopelessness, and loss
I'm sorry that it got so built up,
That death was the only way out.

Cutting, crying, hiding
Did no one notice?
Did you hide it to well?
For any mortal to tell

I'm sorry that it got to that point,
The wounds, the grief, the anguish,
I'm sorry that it got so built up,
That death was the only way out.

My poor baby, where was your family?
When you cried, where were your friends?
Who was there to save you?
From what you brought to them.

I'm sorry that it got to that point,
The heartache, and the misunderstanding
I'm sorry that it got so built up,
That death was the only way out.

What has this world become?
Why are the youth conforming?
Where have all bible's gone,
To teach them someone's there.





I'm sorry no one told you,
That God was always there,
That he gave you people to talk to,
Ways to heal the ache

I'm sorry you gave the most precious gift away,
You may have been confused,
But if we all gave up when things got tough
We'd have no heroes now a day's.

I'm sorry
That it had to get to that point.


Posted by Barbara Henriquez, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 29, 2007 at 7:38 pm

I WILL DEFINATELY MISS HIM.


Posted by Student, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 29, 2007 at 7:44 pm

This is such a tragedy. So completely surreal.


Posted by friend, a resident of Dublin
on Oct 29, 2007 at 7:57 pm

I knew him. I know his family. He was a good kid. Troubled, but a good kid. He was given lots of help over the last couple of years and it's important to know that he was loved and cared for and everything that could have been done had indeed been done.

There are some things in this world we can't fix.

I will miss his sense of humor.

My heart is with his family.


Posted by student, a resident of Foothill High School
on Oct 29, 2007 at 7:58 pm

I cannot believe that something like this could happen in our town. There needs to be something done about this and we can't let it happen again.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 29, 2007 at 8:21 pm

I heard the train horn blaring also. What a terrible thing for this young person to do. It is hard to understand. My deepest sympathies to family, friends, students and teachers. Suicide hurts the survivors, no need to assign blame. They all need our nurturing and reassurance. The town is in shock tonight. God bless those who are hurting.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 29, 2007 at 8:21 pm

I heard the train horn blaring also. What a terrible thing for this young person to do. It is hard to understand. My deepest sympathies to family, friends, students and teachers. Suicide hurts the survivors, no need to assign blame. They all need our nurturing and reassurance. The town is in shock tonight. God bless those who are hurting.


Posted by classmate, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 29, 2007 at 8:34 pm

God have mercy on his heart.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Oct 29, 2007 at 8:42 pm

Such a sad day. We all need to listen to our kids, both verbally and nonverbally. Let them know that they are loved each and every day. No matter how crazy or hectic our lives get, we need to find the time and communicate with our loved ones. Turn the TV, cell phone, and IPOD off. Go for a walk, on a picnic, have dinner together. Turn and listen to each other. It's a very tough world out there for teenagers. They need a place to go where they feel safe, loved, and listened to. They need us now more than ever. May God bless this child and his family.


Posted by a student at Amador Valley, a resident of Mohr Park
on Oct 29, 2007 at 10:31 pm

I didn't know him, but hearing things like this happening at our school definitely worries me. I know that these things happen every day but it is different when it happens at our own school. I only wish that something could have been done to prevent his death, it is only a constant reminder of how fragile life really is. I'm so sorry to his family and friends and I am glad that the Amador staff is so understanding and compassionate about the whole situation.

And again I am really sorry to all that were close to him.


Posted by Melissa, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 29, 2007 at 10:58 pm

This kid was so amazing! He had a heart of gold!
i wasnt super close to him but i did hang out
wit him and some friends of ours! i wish it didnt
have to happen like this! he will always be in
my heart and i will miss him terribly!


Posted by Lisa, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 29, 2007 at 11:03 pm

I am sorry.
The pain of the children we have lost these past two weeks is in many of our hearts.
Our children are precious.
I only wish that people around us could feel the love we have for them and carry it with them always.
My love to these families.

I do not understand the selfishness of silent railroad crossings. You bought your property knowing full well what was around you. Those horns are for safety. Regardless of whether or not this incident was or could have been effected by the horns...THE HORNS ARE THERE FOR THE SAFETY OF PEOPLE. Don't use this as an opportunity to advertise your desire to legislate preference to safety. The safety of the public at large far outweighs the few silencing those horns would serve. Many little children live close to those tracks.


Posted by Annabelle, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 29, 2007 at 11:08 pm

Safe and Quite Zone????????
Oxymoron...moron


Posted by village parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 30, 2007 at 8:51 am

I was deeply saddened by the loss the the beautiful girl from village h.s. last week due to suicide and now this loss. My heart goes out to all the families and friends of these two teens. My intellect tells me that there are serious holes in our family/schools safety net. Perhaps a mandatory class on mental health issues for teens is needed at all the high schools. Lets save our teens from themselves and don't forget to tell them that you love them.


Posted by a parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 30, 2007 at 12:41 pm

"The common link among people who kill themselves is the belief that suicide is the only solution to a set of overwhelming feelings. The attraction of suicide is that it will finally end these unbearable feelings. The tragedy of suicide is that intense emotional distress often blinds people to alternative solutions...yet other solutions are almost always available.

We all experience feelings of loneliness, depression, helplessness, and hopelessness, from time to time. The death of a family member, the breakup of a relationship, blows to our self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, and/or major financial setbacks are serious problems which all of us may have to face at some point in our lives. Because each person's emotional makeup is unique, each of us responds to situations differently. In considering whether a person may be suicidal, it is imperative that the crisis be evaluated from that person's perspective. What may seem of minor importance to someone else--and an event that may be insignificant to you can be extremely distressful to another. Regardless of the nature of the crisis, if a person feels overwhelmed, there is danger that suicide may seem an attractive solution." UCLA Counseling Center

San Francisco Bay Area Suicide and Crisis Intervention Alliance (BASCIA) www.bascia.org/


Posted by MB, a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Oct 30, 2007 at 1:01 pm

"Safe and Quite Zone????????
Oxymoron...moron
Posted by Annabelle, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood"



Annabelle, that's the most intellegent and carefully thought out comment you can make in this community forum? That's your public display? Let's leave the Jerry Springeresk level of discussion on your tv, all righty?


Posted by MB, a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Oct 30, 2007 at 2:10 pm

"Regardless of whether or not this incident was or could have been effected by the horns...THE HORNS ARE THERE FOR THE SAFETY OF PEOPLE. Don't use this as an opportunity to advertise your desire to legislate preference to safety. The safety of the public at large far outweighs the few silencing those horns would serve. Many little children live close to those tracks.
Posted by Lisa, a member of the Amador Valley High School community"

***
Lisa, if you look carefully, the comment was not posted as an advertisement but in RESPONSE (caps for emphasis only :) to several other comments posted for and against the quiet zone idea PRIOR to the posting. So I find it to be an illegitimate complaint to ask for one opinion opposing yours to remain silent and not others.

I would hope that this discussion would solely focus on the life of the young boy but as some had chosen to discuss the quiet zone being purposed, I could not let some of the misinformation posted go without comment.

This suicide was a tragic and horrific event and my heart goes out to the family and community at Amador Valley.

According to persons living in the area (as posted above), the train operator used the horn all he could AS HE SHOULD HAVE and AS HE WOULD in the same situation if it arose in a quiet zone.

The quiet zone would actually drastically INCREASE the fortifications around crossings and the gates would STILL come down, the bells would STILL sound and the lights would STILL flash to let everyone around the crossing know that THE TRAIN IS COMING! The train horn would STILL be used as needed to alert someone who is where he/she shouldn't be, on the tracks.

I understand your emotional response but the data of the level of safety at these crossings and the proposed level of safety doesn't support your argument.

As a previous writer posted above, "in all honesty, you'd have to try really hard to get run over by a train." By all reports this troubled but loved boy did just that. This was an incident of someone deeply hurting inside that the train operator trying with all his might, as I believe he did, could not have saved. That could only be done before the lad got there.

I hope everyone, or some, uses this tragic event to see if there is anyone, anyone around them who could use the attention we do not give normally as we go about absorbed in our own lives and issues.

All the best to you Lisa and to our community.


Posted by MB, a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Oct 30, 2007 at 2:21 pm

"Safe and Quite Zone????????
Oxymoron...moron
Posted by Annabelle, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood"

***
Annabelle, that's the most intellegent and carefully thought out comment you can make in this community forum? That's your public display? Let's leave the Jerry Springeresk level of discussion on your tv, all righty?
Posted by MB, a resident of the Pheasant Ridge neighborhood, 1 hour ago


Posted by megan, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 30, 2007 at 3:01 pm

he saved my life. i wish i could have helped save his.
now
forever


Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Oct 30, 2007 at 4:06 pm

Suicide renders moot any discussion about horns, bells, crossing gates or flashing lights, but could someone explain why frieght trains don't slow down when passing through towns?


Posted by Jeb Bing, editor of the Pleasanton Weekly
on Oct 30, 2007 at 6:38 pm

Jeb Bing is a registered user.

Special E-Connection, Tuesday, October 30, 2007

This is an update of yesterday's tragic incidence. On Monday, October 29, an Amador Valley High School student, Billy Russell, lost his life to an apparent suicide. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time.

Please be sensitive to the fact that suicide is a powerful issue that may lead students to question their own lives and may put students who are depressed at risk for suicide themselves. We need to work together to ensure that students in need get help. Please do not hesitate to bring students to our attention who you believe may need help. District counselors are available to offer support as needed.

Also, students may refer other students for support. If students or parents would prefer to leave messages anonymously, our District has established a new Anonymous Student Support Tip-line at 417-5199. We encourage you to keep avenues of communication open with your student about this issue and talk to them about their feelings and concerns. In a learning community, an event like this touches everyone.

If you would like more information on the subject of teen suicide, there are a number of resources available that include warning signs to watch for and prevention strategies. An online resource for parents can be found at the American Academy of Pediatrics Website at: parents can be found at the American Academy of Pediatrics Website at www.aap.org/advocacy/childhealthmonth/prevteensuicide.htm and www.aap.org/advocacy/childhealthmonth/prevteensuicide.htm.

--Myla Y. Grasso, Public Information Officer, Pleasanton Unified School District.


Posted by AVHS student., a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 31, 2007 at 1:38 am

we werent best friends. but we were friends and we hung out. he was a quiet kid but he was always kind.
i just want people to know that billy was loved by many people. he was just at a point in his life where he couldnt see that.
we all miss him. and our hearts go out to his family.
i miss you billy. you'll always be remembered<3


Posted by Sheila, a resident of Las Positas Garden Homes
on Oct 31, 2007 at 7:30 am

To my son and all his friends,and all the students at AVHS, I am so sorry that we couldn't do more to help Billy. I wish I would have known and tried to help. I am truly sorry.

To Billy's family, I am sorry we let your son down. God bless you and your family.


Posted by adam aziz, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 31, 2007 at 10:57 am

im sad


Posted by James, a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Oct 31, 2007 at 1:18 pm

For William "Billy" Russell:

God have mercy on his heart and soul and the Russell family. My family does not know yours, but your son and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers.


Posted by Maskiell's, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Nov 1, 2007 at 2:57 pm

Our hearts and prayers go out to the parents, family and freinds in this difficult time.


Posted by Robin, a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Nov 1, 2007 at 3:06 pm

In My Pocket

I have memories in my pocket.
They rattle among the change.

My memories of you are treasures I carry wherever I go.

They are stored in bits and pieces, parts of a beautiful whole
They give me comfort when I think I am alone.

Yes, I have memories in my pocket, like so much other stuff I keep there.

But of all the treasures I have, it's the memories of you that are the most precious.


Posted by Robin, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Nov 1, 2007 at 6:26 pm

The above poem "In My Pocket" I found when my mom passed away in May and it helped me to find some comfort. I hope it helps you to find some peace, in this difficult time!
All my prayers...Robin


Posted by In tears, a resident of Downtown
on Nov 2, 2007 at 7:48 am

Robin,
Thank you for that beautiful poem.


Posted by Danielle Gonzalez, a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2007 at 2:16 pm

To Billy's family and friends - I didn't know Billy but I want you to know I am going to be praying for all of you. May God bring you comfort and peace through this difficult times. It's never easy when you loose someone especially through a tragedy.My friend who graduated from Amador commited suicide so I can relate. You are left with questions and guilt. Don't let that bring you down, put it in God's hands and he will do the rest...


Posted by Robin, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Nov 2, 2007 at 4:25 pm

In Tears,

You are soo welcome! I never met Billy or Sophie, but my kids knew them. Being a mother of 2 in Amador High, this has hit me really hard. I wish I could do more, but all I got is the tiny poem (In My Pocket)and my prayers. I carry some of my mom's change and when I need comfort. I jingle the coins and think of all the good times and wonderful memories. The poem helped me through a difficult time and I wanted to share it with the Parents, Family and Friends in hopes that it will help in some way!

Hugs and all my prayers to everyone!!!
Robin


Posted by Concerned parent, a resident of Birdland
on Nov 2, 2007 at 8:13 pm

I had commented earlier reharding Laurel. The parents have their heads ....you know where. Many kids are hurting. Its always about football, cheerleading, being in the right group. So many kids are being bullied and picked on and they are lonely and hurting .....people...clue in. Even the (comment edited by Pleasanton Weekly staff for profanity) parents alighn themselves with the "RIGHT PEOPLE". You all suck. Lets start teaching our children the "compassion", "respect", "integrity", "responsibility" etc that are great and wonderful schools boast about!!!!!! All of our children are special and should be teated equal!!! When we start to realize that....... there will be less suicide amoung our youth!


Posted by Harvest Park student, a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 13, 2007 at 5:39 pm

That really is sad. My heart goes out to his family and friends. It's sad that people think there's no way out and that death is the only choice. Lots of kids at my school like to joke about suicide but i don't think they notice how serious it is.


Posted by Nick, a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 25, 2008 at 4:09 am

While a family friend, I had got to know Billy and found him to be a young, energetic and imaginative young man. Fact is I hadnt seen or talked to him someting like 3 years and frankly just found out this evening and yet am very sad he is gone. I personally feel we are worse off without him. I'm sorry Billy.


Posted by amador valley student, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2008 at 10:11 pm

i knew him and he was the nicest person u could ever meet. i wish i could have been there for him more. i wish he was still here damnit! 8 (comment edited by PW staff) months and it still feels like hell here. he will always be in our hearts!<3


Posted by chepz locz, a resident of Livermore
on Mar 17, 2009 at 4:38 pm

my friends took me to the train tracks in pleasanton one night and they told me a lot of people committed suicide on the tracks we were on. while hanging out under the train tracks my friends were telling me people claim to hear someone running across the train tracks. i thought they were jus tryna scare me, but out of no where you really do hear some one running across the tracks. i thought it could be a train from miles away making the wood crack but it wasn't that kind of sound it actualy sounded like foot steps running across the tracks. i don't know what this bridge is called or where its loacted[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language] . there where other people that died there too. theres flowers and pictures of people that died on the train track. whos been there??


Posted by member, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 2, 2009 at 1:05 am

This is no doubt a tragedy. Is anybody aware that it HAS happened again? Another young wonderful member of our community has killed himself. It happenned a week agao and I do not understand why there has been no information about it. He shot himself in his backyard in pleasanotn. A young man of only 22. Another Amador Graduate. Why does this continue to happen in our wonderful town? Why do our youth believe this is an okay way to go. I am aching for the families of these kids. I am worried that the more this happens the more other kids will find it an acceptable way out. We must educate our youth! There is nothing more upsetting than losing a loved one in this way. We must as a community support these families. This is horrible. What can we do?


Posted by ashley, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 19, 2010 at 3:28 pm

This is so messed up. It has happened again. At Amador High School by the train tracks. It is February 19th 2010.


Posted by Anette, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 19, 2010 at 4:19 pm

High school is already bleak and he prospect of required mental health classes and mandatory suicide prevention programs being implemented there is depressing in itself.


Posted by FHS Grad, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm

It breaks my heart hearing things like this happenning. My heart goes out to the families of Billy, Sophie, and now Evelyn, and to anyone else who has lost a loved one due to suicide.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 26, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Evelyns suicide hsa taken me back to Billy suicide. I remember distinctly when the vice principal came in to tell us about Billys suicide. Its so sad. So many people went to Billys and Evelyns services, i wish they had realized how loved they were earlier.

i still miss you Billy..


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