Sudden death of 6th grader: Is bullying to blame?

- Can there be anything harder than to hear a child's cry? Now, imagine dozens of children sobbing and wailing.

I have reported on to too many vigils or memorials where crying mothers and angry teens mourn a special someone. Tonight's candlelight vigil in Colton might well have been the hardest I've ever reported. 

12-year old Dominick Gallegos suddenly collapsed and died Tuesday while playing soccer at his elementary school. Hundreds came to the school to remember the 6th grader.

From where I stood, everyone wiped away tears. But it was the loud, body wracking sobs of the children that pierced me. His younger sister wailed, "Why did he have to go?" Another boy was comforted by his mother, but his cries were loud and long. 

Isabelle Acosta, Dominick's cousin put her head against her mother's chest to cry, so loud it was hard to hear the words of Pastor Jonathan Flores. I asked Isabelle if she was up to being interviewed and she was anxious to tell me through her tears how much she loved her cousin; how many fun times they shared; how they laughed and played. She was barely understandable when between sobs she said, "I can't understand how this could happen."

No one knows for sure what happened.  His parents wait for the final autopsy report. But Dominick's father Joel is "very convinced" his only son died because of the actions of another student.

He told me he talked to a couple of kids who said they saw Dominick being stomped on twice while he was down.

Dominick, he said, was a healthy child. He didn't have a heart condition or anything that might explain his sudden death.

Meanwhile, the Colton Joint Unified School District told parents and the media that law enforcement says, there was no sign of trauma.

Maybe no physical signs of trauma, but now, plenty of children and parents are traumatized by the reality that Dominick is gone.

And, I once more, must swallow my tears, offer another grieving parent my condolences and try not to let this one leave a scar.

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