A handcuffed high school student shot himself while he was in the back of a police car on Wednesday, detectives said.
Galena Park Independent School District officials said a student took a gun to North Shore Senior High School, 353 Castlegory.
School district officials said a deputy constable on campus got a report that a student at the school planned to hurt himself.
Officials said the student was found in a restroom and he appeared to be mentally unstable. It took two deputy constables to get the student out of the restroom and he was then taken into custody for his safety. An ambulance was called out to the school.
A Harris County Precinct 3 deputy constable searched, handcuffed and placed the student in the back of a patrol car, officials said.
The student had a gun concealed beneath his shirt that was not found during the search, officials said. While being driven to the ambulance, the student retrieved that gun and shot himself in the back of the head, investigators said.
"When dealing with searches, what you're looking for most often are weapons. You have big weapons and small weapons. Bigger weapons are easier to find," said Thomas Nixon, an attorney and former police officer.
"What an officer is going to do, he's going to go outside the pocket, and he's going to grab the outside of the pocket like this and he might even ask, 'What's that in your pocket?' If you have shirt pockets, the officer might glide over that and kind of glide over the waist band," said Nixon.
The student rushed to Ben Taub Hospital in critical condition. School district officials said the student had surgery and was treated in the intensive care unit.
KPRC Local 2 has learned the identity of the student but has chosen not to identify him because he is a minor.
Officials said the student had been depressed since he broke up with his girlfriend in September. Investigators said there were signs on the student's Twitter feed that can now be seen as a cry for help.
"Today is the day," he wrote. "Bye guys."
Some of the tweets seemed to be directed toward the girl.
"You say you can't live like this," he wrote. "I'll make it easier for you after today."
Some of the student's friends said they were shocked by the shooting.
"It's sad," said Chandler Stautmeister. "I can't get over why he did that to himself. I never thought he was the kind of person who would do that."
One student said that some classmates knew the boy had a gun, but they did not report it.
"Some of his friends said they knew he had the gun, but he just went with it," said Evelin Campos.
Counselors will be available for students and staff members who need help. The school canceled extracurricular activities for the day.