The remote Sonoma County community of Annapolis is mourning the death of a local eighth-grader, a 13-year-old girl who apparently took her own life despite her tender age, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office said.
The student, whose name was not released, reportedly shot herself in the head Tuesday morning with a .22-caliber revolver at her family's home on Soda Springs Road, authorities said.
She died at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday, the Sonoma County Coroner's Office said.
The girl, whose parents grew up in the area, leaves family in Annapolis and Santa Rosa, her school principal said. She lived with her father, his wife and three half-siblings.
Authorities did not release the girl's name.
She was a familiar, smiling face at Horicon Elementary School, a small, K-8 school of 62 children where kids of all ages know each other.
"We're doing well, considering," principal Patty Dineen said Wednesday, "but it was a tragic incident, and we're a very close and tight-knit family."
The girl had attended school Monday and appeared her usual happy self, Dineen said.
"She is, to all appearances, a strong student, happy, beautiful child. Beautiful smile. Kind of a quiet strength to her," Dineen said. "You know, the kids that were remembering her this morning remembered her being helpful, friendly."
Officials said the Sheriff's Office was notified just after 8 a.m. Tuesday of an emergency at the Soda Springs Road house. Deputies found the girl with a gunshot wound to her head and she was airlifted to the hospital.
Law enforcement officials said they have no reason to believe her death was anything but a suicide and are not investigating further, beyond an autopsy Friday or Monday.
Coroner's Sgt. Greg Stashyn said he has never heard of someone so young taking their own life in the area. But suicide is not uncommon among young people. The federal Centers for Disease Control identifies suicide as the fourth leading cause of death in those ages 10-to-14.