For the first time, the Westminster Police Department has used the name of Vincent Neff, the sixteen-year-old student who set himself on fire in the Standley Lake High School cafeteria.
The official revelation comes as a result of an extremely sad development: Nett has died from injuries sustained during his suicide attempt, which took place in full view of approximately sixty students.
Continue for photos, video and more information about this tragic event.
At 7:12 a.m. on January 27, as we've reported, the WPD notes that officers received reports about a fire inside the high school, located on the 10400 block of Holland Street.
Both police and fire staffers rushed to the scene, where they learned that a teenage boy, Nett, had stepped into the cafeteria and set himself on fire. The burns he suffered were severe, with 7News estimating that they covered 80 percent of his body.
The fire was put out by a custodian, using a fire extinguisher. A woman who works at the school suffered a minor injury when breaking the glass case that held the extinguisher. Otherwise, the only person hurt was Nett, who police believe was trying to commit suicide and didn't intend to harm anyone else. He is also said to have consumed a water bottle filled with bleach.
An estimated sixty students were in the cafeteria at the time.
A friend of Nett's who spoke with 9News says she only started noticing worrisome behavior on his part in the week that preceded the incident. But his Facebook page features a number of graphics that are positively heartrending when viewed in retrospect.
Here's one that was posted this past September....
...and here's another from that same month: Still, it was a Facebook message only shared with his friends that was especially alarming. Continue for more about the suicide attempt at Standley Lake High School yesterday, including additional photos and videos. The message, excerpted by 9News, states that "This is not someone's fault. I had this planned for years."
The note also mentions that friends tried to talk him out of such a desperate act, but to no avail. About his motives, he added, "If anyone says that they know why I did this...nobody knows and nobody will."
School at Standley Lake was immediately canceled for both the 27th and 28th, and in the hours after the news broke, graphics like this one began to pop up on the pages of assorted students:
Also surfacing were fundraising pages, including one posted by a Standley Lake junior. On the page, she writes:
On 1/27/2014, I was driving into school late when I saw a fire truck pull up behind the school. Thinking it was someone passed out I continued driving, that is until I found out that a student had lit himself on fire in the school cafeteria in a suicide attempt. All the students had to wait in the parking lot, wondering what happened, if he as still alive. I did not know Vince personally, but I know that he did not deserve to feel like he had to take his life in such a harsh way.
Westminster police say that Nett died at 4:59 p.m. on Sunday, February 9. A spokesman adds that counselors will be on hand at the high school this morning to assist those grappling with this terrible outcome.
We offer our sincere condolences to Nett's friends, family and loved ones, and wish them the peace that eluded him.
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Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our News archive circa December 2013: "Suicide by freezing prevented by CU student's roommate, rescue crew at Chautauqua."