Brandy Vela, 18-year-old senior, took her own life Tuesday (Nov. 29) in front of her family. The Texas City High School student shot herself in the chest after bullying at school went too far. It is still unknown who the gun belongs to.
According to Latina, the school district’s director of communications, Melissa Tortorici, made a statement about having prior knowledge of Vela’s victimization. “She did bring it to the school’s attention before Thanksgiving break that she was getting harassing messages to her cell phone outside of school,” she explained. Vela’s parents also brought up concerns for their daughter to the school prior to the incident. The Texas City Independent School District described her class as a “safe environment.”
Jacqueline Vela, Brandy’s 22-year-old sister, said that she was being bullied through the use of social media. Her older sister explained that she was sent hurtful messages about her weight that are still untraceable. Vela had fake profiles of her that said she would “give sex for free” with her number attached. The last message Vela received from her little sister was, “I love you so much just remember that please and I’m sorry for everything.”
Jacqueline found her younger sister against her bedroom wall with the gun when she called for her parents help. After the gunshot was fired, her father, Raul Vela, frantically screamed out, “Help me.” Victor Vela, Brandy’s brother, had this to say about the bullies: “I’m glad you got what you wanted, I hope this makes you happy.”
“I’m not going to give up and I’m going to make sure that Brandy is recognized,” Raul said to KHOU News. “And hopefully through Brandy we’ll get things changed through this bullying that’s going on.
A candlelit vigil was held at Vela’s school in her memory. The school vows to make sure that there will be no more online harassment and use this as a learning lesson. Vela’s funeral is scheduled for next Wednesday. With teenage suicide increasing and over 5,000 suicidal incidents last year, when will enough be enough?
#BrandyVela anytime someone kills themselves over bullying the bullies should be charged with murder
— Qasim Abid Salahudin (@QasimAChaudri) December 2, 2016
Any kind of #bullying is unacceptable. We mustn’t tolerate this and we must put an end to this #rip beauiful soul #brandyvela
— Stophatred (@realbellasworld) December 2, 2016
Another gone too soon because teens feel entitled to torment someone to death. This has got to stop! #brandyvela https://t.co/7XIgrT7DBy
— Alyssa D (@DiggsAlyssa) December 2, 2016