Second Hanford High student in a week dies

A Hanford High School junior died Tuesday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the second student from the school to die this week.

West Richland police are investigating the death of Gavin Slack, 16, who was found unresponsive and died at Kadlec Regional Medical Center.

Gavin was a wide receiver and defensive back for Hanford’s varsity football team and a member of the 4x100-meter relay team that went to state last spring during his sophomore year.

“We are all saddened by his death and we understand that many of us, both students and staff, will be dealing with the sadness and grief that accompanies the loss of a friend, classmate or student,” wrote Principal Tory Christensen in a letter to families, adding, “We need to respect each other in the grieving process and provide whatever support we can.”

Students have been advised that if they need to see a counselor or take a break from class to grieve they may do so but are to report to the library to see a support person or be directed to a private place so all students can be accounted for.

On Monday, sophomore Zach Schmidt died at Kadlec, reportedly after becoming ill in class. Benton County Coroner John Hansens said a cause of death hasn’t been determined and that he is awaiting test results.