It was standing room only at the First Baptist Church in Tehachapi, CA, Friday as more than 500 mourners came to bid farewell to Seth Walsh, an openly gay teen who died earlier this week following a suicide attempt 10 days earlier.
Seth endured years of bullying for being gay. His death is one of more than 6 suicides by gay teens last month that captured national headlines and renewed attention to anti-gay bullying.
“He was the best brother ever,” said Shawn Walsh, 11, during yesterday’s celebration of life for Seth. “Sometimes Seth was a pain in the butt, but he would protect me. I wish I could have done the same for him.
“I’m not a fighting person. Neither was Seth. I just wish people could have been nicer to him.”
Tehachapi Police Chief Jim Kermode said an ongoing investigation has determined Seth was bullied for at least the past two years.
Police have said they can not prosecute the students involved because the “teasing” was not a criminal act, but are looking at any underlying crimes that may have occurred in connection with the bullying, such as assault, vandalism or criminal threats.
But LGBTQ Nation has learned new details into what transpired on Sunday, September 19, the day Seth took his life.
According one witness, Seth was bullied that day by three boys in Tehachapi’s West Park. They called Seth a “faggot” and chanted “Justin Bieber fever” at him because he was wearing a Justin Bieber t-shirt.
At least one of the bullies committed battery against Seth by shoving and pushing him around, according to the witness, while another bully made a video recording of the altercation using his cell phone.
One unconfirmed report is that one of the bullies is on probation for previously attacking another teen.
Seth was found later that day, unconscious and not breathing, after hanging himself from a tree branch. He spent the better part of 10 days on life support.
Seth died on Sept. 28 at the age of 13.