Daniel Mendez: San Clemente teen’s suicide stuns family


By FRED SWEGLES
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
The family of a 16-year-old San Clemente boy who died Friday of what authorities called a self-inflicted gunshot wound was at a loss today to understand the tragedy.

Services are scheduled for Thursday for Daniel Dipronio Mendez, and classmates of the San Clemente High School sophomore created a shrine in his memory along Via Sage in the Forster Ranch neighborhood, where Mendez’s body was discovered around 3:30 p.m. Friday with a revolver beside it.

“He was extremely excited about his future,” said his mother, Anna Mendez, who described him as “very positive.”

Sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Kennedy said a neighbor was in his garage Friday afternoon and heard what sounded like a firecracker. The man went out to the street and found the body. The resident didn’t see any cars or people fleeing the scene, Kennedy said.

At first there was speculation in the neighborhood that the teen had been shot by someone else, but sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said tests by the coroner’s office confirmed the gunshot was self-inflicted. “It appears to be a suicide,” Amormino said.

Anna Mendez wonders otherwise. Full story.

Related stories:

Orange County Register: Did bullying lead to student’s death?

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