A North Dakota freshman walked in front of his class, made an apology and then shot himself with a handgun Thursday morning, Richland County authorities said.
The injured boy was coherent when he was taken to a hospital, said Principal Jay Townsend of Fairmont Public School, which has 112 students from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Authorities don't know what the apology was about, Sheriff Larry Leshovsky said.
The student wasn't in any kind of trouble that the principal was aware of.
Though reason is certain that the root of this sad incident is complicated, the instincts find it hard not to give some weight to the simple fact that the life of this young man has been entirely spent in a rural community with less than 400 people.