A Gillette Police Department investigation is underway in relation to the recent suicide death of another of the city’s young people.
Trevor O’Brien, 20, was found dead Tuesday when a female friend went to Cam-plex Park to look for him. O’Brien’s car was at the scene and she found him dead there at about 10:30 p.m., Police Sgt. Greg Brothers said.
While Campbell County Coroner Laura Sundstrom still has yet to confirm the death as a suicide, the Gillette Police Department has reported the death as such and has begun an investigation into details surrounding the incident, including rumors of hate crimes that may have been directed at O’Brien.
In 2012, O’Brien’s mother reported that his vehicle had been damaged and defaced, referencing O’Brien’s sexual orientation. The investigation encompasses both that and anything else surrounding the death, Lt. Chuck Deaton said.
“They put a disparaging word commonly used for homosexuals on the car,” Deaton said. “Since then, we’ve never had a report made to us about any additional hate crimes and no reports from the young man.”
While bullying can certainly play a part in a person’s decision to take his or her own life, it likely would not be the only factor, said Keith Howard with the Campbell County Suicide Prevention Coalition.
“I’m always quick to say that there are never sole reasons that anyone engages in the act,” Howard said. “An individual that dies in a suicide may have contributing factors like bullying in their lives. In all of the research that is done, it’s never been shown to be an isolated factor.”
The results of the investigation into the death may help shed light on other factors to help youth in the county suffering from depression, Howard said.
“We hope it will bring to light any information to help meet the needs of our youth,” he said. “If it helps to reduce bullying, great, but we’re quick to say that we know the research has told us in every situation, it is not an isolated factor. We’re endeavoring to find out what were all the contributing factors for someone to take their life by suicide.”
O’Brien was the fourth Campbell County resident to commit suicide so far in 2016.
See Sunday’s News Record for a more in-depth look at those involved in suicide prevention and contributing factors.