The death of New Tampa resident Noah Kushner, 16, has been ruled a suicide by the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office, after he was found lifeless on Nov. 15, near the University of South Florida (USF), just one day after he was reported missing by his parents, Beatrice and Bruce Kushner.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), Noah Kushner was found between a basketball court and a vacant apartment complex formerly known as Fontana Hall, at 13605 E. Fletcher Ave., at 7 a.m. on November 15.
Sometime after his parents filed a missing person report, Kushner went to the 13-floor empty apartment building, which is currently closed for renovations, and tragically ended his life, said a HCSO report. According to HCSO public information officer Larry McKinnon, the construction site for the apartment building is fenced off; however, it could easily be scaled over.
Once Kushner entered the property, he walked up the steps of the emergency staircase on the northeast side of the building before leaping to his death; it is unknown from which floor he jumped.
Kushner was last seen alive riding his silver-and-blue Gary Fisher road bike around the 18000 block of Cozumel Dr. near his parents’ home on Martinque Isle Dr. in Cory Lake Isles. Noah was a junior at C. Leon King High, where he attended the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. His peers described him as a funny, bright and sociable student who you could easily point out in a crowd with his wild curly hair, thick glasses and a toolbox in his hand that he carried with him daily.
On the day of his death, Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) sent out the Crisis Intervention Team, a group of specially trained psychologists, social workers and health nurses, to King to help students cope with the loss. Team members provide short-term assistance to schools when school administrators request it. The team is dispatched to public schools for crises, which may include events such as the death of a student or staff member, natural disasters and other traumatic events that impact the school community.
Many students at King also have been sharing their grief over Noah’s pasing through social networking sites like Tumblr and Facebook, says HCPS spokesperson Linda Cobbe.
“Noah Kushner was King’s sunshine,” one student wrote on her blog. “He was the kind of kid that wore capes to celebrate holidays no one even knew existed. He was the kid that held the door open for everyone in the hallway because he didn’t want to close it on someone. Noah was a quirky, sweet, smart boy no one really understood, but everyone laughed along with.”
More than one student mentioned that Kushner suffered from seizures, as well as depression.