Dad says girl battled depression — (San Antonio Express-News)

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Express-News (San Antonio)

By Jesse Bogan and Elaine Aradillas

Web Posted : 10/07/2002 12:00 AM

The father of the 13-year-old girl who shot herself at school last week said Sunday night that their daughter had a history of depression and recently sought psychological help.
Elizabeth Rangel died early Saturday at Wilford Hall Medical Center after she shot herself in the left temple with a 9mm handgun. The shooting took place before classes started Friday, in front of a group of kids at Page Middle School.
Jose Luis Rangel said his daughter had been showing signs of depression for the last year and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital a month ago for three days because she was cutting her arms with a razor blade.
“I know that’s a problem that I can’t handle or the family can’t handle,” he said of his daughter’s behavior.  She was never diagnosed suicidal, he said, but was prescribed the antidepressant drug Celexa.
The family said Elizabeth had never told them that she was considering suicide, but peers apparently had bothered her.
“I think the reason she did it at school, was to make a point to those kids who were mean to her,” the father said, face full of tears.
She had given away a few personal belongings in the school parking lot before she turned the gun on herself. Her father said he didn’t know where she found the firearm.
Kids that knew her said she was “cool,” but often had cuts and scrapes on her forearms.
Elizabeth’s mother, Estella, tried helping her daughter during difficult times when the 13-year-old girl said classmates were teasing her.
Rangel said his wife pulled their daughter out of school several times because she “needed to talk.” She took her out of class until she felt better.
“My daughter was happy (at home). She loved me, she loved her mom,” he said.
Since the death was ruled a suicide, the insurance policy does not cover the funeral costs. Donations can be made to Joe L. Rangel for Elizabeth Rangel, International Bank of Commerce, No. 6000208103.
A viewing will be conducted at 5 p.m. Tuesday followed by a rosary at 7 p.m. at the Castillo Mission Funeral Home, 520 N. Gen. McMullen Drive.
On Wednesday, a Mass will be celebrated at 8:30 a.m. at St. Cecilia Catholic Church, 125 W. Whittier St.
She will be buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.