The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

January 24, 2012

Westwood coping with loss of student

PALESTINE — Local pastors and counselors were available to Westwood High School students Monday, following the weekend death of 17-year-old David Reyes.

Reyes, a Westwood senior, died late Saturday night as a result of a gunshot wound at a trailer park in the 2000 block of West Oak Street.

The Westwood community has been faced with a string of student deaths in recent months.

Last July, Desiree Dijon Brown, 18, who had graduated from Westwood High School just one month earlier, was shot and killed in an Athens neighborhood where a large group had gathered to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Last April’s death of Westwood second grader Tori Blair Wilson, meanwhile, was ultimately determined to be a suicide by the case’s medical examiner.

“We’re a small school,” Westwood Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Ed Lyman said Monday. “We’re more of a family than  just a school. When something like this happens, it takes a toll on everybody. We pride ourselves on being the Westwood Panther family.

“Naturally, it’s very somber around here,” he continued. “It’s just real heartbreaking to have these things continue to happen.”

Dr. Clint McLain, principal at Westwood High School, said Reyes was “kind of a quiet kid” who had described himself as good-natured and good-hearted in an English class assignment his junior year.

Prior to his senior year, Reyes had participated in football and other sports, according to the principal.

“It’s the worst nightmare of anybody who works in the school system -- to lose one of your students,” McLain said. “We love them all.”

McLain added that “relief” was offered to Westwood High School teachers who were struggling with Reyes’ loss.

“It’s not just a struggle for students,” McLain noted, “it’s a struggle for teachers.”

Palestine police, meanwhile, say they are currently investigating Reyes’ death as suspicious in nature.

Police were summoned to the shooting’s location around 11:45 p.m. Saturday.

“His death is being investigated as suspicious circumstances,” Palestine Police Sgt. James Muniz said late Monday afternoon.

The sergeant confirmed that other persons were present when Reyes was shot once in the head with a handgun.

“We haven’t fully determined the exact number of people (who were present),” Muniz said. “There were a minimum of three (other) people.”

The sergeant declined to answer when asked if police had identified the owner of the gun used in the shooting.

Services for Reyes are set for 1 p.m. Friday at Evangelistic Temple, with burial to follow at Roselawn Park.

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Paul Stone may be contacted via e-mail at pstone@palestineherald.com

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