Mychal Bell, Jena 6 teen, shoots himself



Hat Tip: By Kevin McGill, Associated Press

Hat Tip: BET.COM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — One of the central figures in the 2007 Jena Six civil rights case never gave up pursuing his football career, even after his well-publicized run-ins with the law.

Mychal Bell, an 18-year-old high school running back, clung to the hope that he could earn a college football scholarship. Then came another legal scrape this Christmas Eve.

After news broke of his arrest on a shoplifting charge, Bell shot himself in the chest Monday with a .22-caliber handgun. He remained hospitalized Tuesday but police said his chest wound was not life-threatening.

“When it was broadcast that he was charged with shoplifting he just felt that the whole year had been wasted and that he had worked all of that time for nothing,” said Louis Scott, who represented Bell in the case where Bell and five other black teenagers were charged in the 2006 beating of a white classmate.

Bell’s grandmother, Rosie Simmons, and mother, Melissa Bell, told police that “Mychal had made comments over the past two days that, because of the current media attention he had because of the shoplifting arrest, he didn’t feel like he could live anymore,” Monroe Police Lt. Jeff Harris said, reading from a police report.

Bell and the other members of the “Jena Six” once faced attempted murder charges in the beating at Jena High School, in north central Louisiana’s Lasalle Parish. The charges for all the defendants were eventually reduced. But the severity of the original charges brought widespread criticism and eventually led more than 20,000 people to converge in September 2007 on the tiny town of Jena for a major civil rights march.

After being sentenced to 18 months following his guilty plea to juvenile charges, Bell moved from Jena to Monroe, where he was in foster care. He was released from state supervision on Dec. 4, said Bill Furlow, a spokesman for Reed Walters, the district attorney for LaSalle Parish.

A football star at Jena High until the Barker beating, Bell had hoped to play for Monroe’s Carroll High School, where he is on track to graduate in the spring. But the Louisiana High School Athletic Association wouldn’t grant him a fifth year of eligibility to play. Bell had spent 10 months in prison awaiting trial after his 2006 arrest in the beating case.

“He had kept his grades up and he had worked out the whole year even though he couldn’t play. He had dealt with the fact that the state athletic association would not let him play high school ball,” Bell’s lawyer, Louis Scott said Tuesday.

It was unclear whether his dreams of a college football career were realistic. According to Scott, family members believed Bell was having encouraging discussions with the University of Louisiana-Monroe.

The school’s director of football operations, Peter Martin, said in an e-mail that the school had not evaluated Bell as a prospective student-athlete and would not speculate on his potential at the college level.

Police said Bell’s Christmas Eve arrest came after he allegedly tried to steal several shirts and a pair of jeans from a department store and fled when a security guard and off-duty police officer tried to detain him. After they found him hiding under a car, Bell “swung his arms wildly” and one of his elbows struck the security guard with a glancing blow, according to a police report. He was freed on $1,300 bond.

Scott said he believed the arrest likely resulted from a misunderstanding.

“I would be very surprised if he was shoplifting,” Scott said. “I had seen him working out every day even though he knew he wasn’t going to be able to play high school football.”

Monday’s shooting was reported at 7:40 p.m. According to the police report, Bell was staying at his grandmother’s home and his mother was visiting at the time. Melissa Bell told police she and Simmons heard a gunshot coming from Mychal’s room. They found him on his bed, wounded in the chest. It was not clear Tuesday who owned the gun.

117 thoughts on “Mychal Bell, Jena 6 teen, shoots himself

  1. Rikyrah, I hear ya. I was thinking that all of this could be so damn stressful and embarrassing, that he decided to just end it all. But I’m thinking he got scared or startles after pulling the trigger, making the gun move from a good aim. At least that’s what I’m thinking at this point…

    He might be crying out for help. When I was 12-years-old, I took an overdose of some pills. I knew good and very well the amount of pills I took wouldn’t kill me. But I wanted to alert those that were around me, my parents and doctors, that I was hurting so bad, that suicide was a real possibility.

    What I’m trying to say is that he may have been crying out for some help, some relief, some real support.

  2. Skep, I hope you don’t mind me making this shameless plee on your blog… But I figured that you guys are like my blogging family…

    I was selected as a finalist in the 2008 Weblog Awards for Best Diarist. Voting starts Monday. I wanted to ask that all the regulars here go and vote for me once the poles open.

    Some time this weekend, I’ll post a link to the voting poles on my blog. You will be able to get to the voting site from my spot.

    Again Skep, I really hope you are not annoyed that I asked you guys to vote for me. I know that it’s pretty dog on shameless. But I really would like to win this. **smile**

    Thanks in advance!

    Angie Braden

  3. TruthBtold

    Some people have negative things to say no matter where they go. Some people are crying out for help right here on these blogs. There are sick people on these blogs screaming for love and help through hating. That is really sad. I want Mychal to know that there are people out here that know exactly where he is. I know how the court system is and how the media has got you already swingin from a tree and how your friends couldnt take the heat with you and changed on you. I know you’er doing the best you can with the hand you’ve been dealt in life and that your a good young man just tryin to live your dream. I know how they’er tryin to take it all away and make you seem like a monster. I know man. I know a man alot like you and he wrote a song just for you. His name is Apollo Holmes and he left this earth under the same stress the world is putting you under. But know this, the world dont love us… God does. If he only had half the support you had during your case, he would still be here spreading his love around. The song is called “The Wire” and I want you to listen to it over and over to get every word. Then I want you to just hang in there Mychal. You are not misunderstood and you are not alone. Hang in there young soldier and never give them a victory over you. Go to “The Wire” TIME TO BE a G.

  4. I have never believe Mychal Bell was guilty of anything but not having the right support system in his young life to led him. His mother should have moved away the first time mychal got into a mishap with the law. The law is something that will drive a good person to hell,let along a teenager. I am from a racist state of Ohio,however, you can’t feel sorry for your self.

    LOOK at what Judge Mathis did for himself he went back to school and because a Judge. If I could talk to Mychal today I would say to him” ===Mychal, life is tuff for sure everyday is a battle however, go to church so when things happen you have a higher power to shoulder your burdens on. I left my children father after 11 years of marrage, I was a single mother with one son and three daughters, we were poor in people eyes probably if they knew us. However I never let my children think or believe they were poor, anything >but poor.

    You see we looked the part of money, but only we knew we didn’t have money. What my children did have was a zest to be best or better then anyone who called them poor: so they hit the books, summer school for extra credit, and then one by one they were off to college. That was 20-plus or less years ago my twins the youngest- now working on a double career. You can do that to, you have the same thing (brains) that God gave them. I use to hammer it home to them that I wanted them to get something that no one could take from them. , that is your ticket out of hell.

    But you need pushing from people who cares what happen to you. I don’t know how your mom (i am sure does the best she can) let you slip throught the cracks of the law,because when they put a rapp sheet around your name,they think that it is their duty to harress you for life. The next time you need something that you think you need== my dear son”pray for it, and while you are at it=PRAY TO GET THE HELL OUT OF THAT LONELY DISGUTED SURROUNDING CITY OF JENA OF 1600.

    That place is still in the dark ages. You can do greatness, but you have to reach out, try the, urban and Junior leauge, call all over the states, to see if you can get into a program that will pay for your college tution. People do give you second and third chances, however you have to put forth efford. I WILL ALL WAYS KEPT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY IN MY PRAYERS. I HATE TO HEAR OF A YOUNG PERSON TRYING TO TAKE THEIR LIFE. GOD LEFT YOU HERE FOR A REASON. HE KNOWS THERE IS GOODNESS IN YOUR SOUL. MAY GOD BLESS YOU. FROM GLORIA (EXCUSE MY TYPING ERRORS)

  5. Burroughston Broch

    DJ Rom, you cut the list short. Prior to the Jena 6 incident, Mychal had two prior convictions for battery and one for criminal damage to property. He added another battery conviction at Jena. In this latest incident he can add another battery, shoplifting and probation violation. My guess is that he will do some prison time before playing college football.

    He is obviously a disturbed young man, but part of his disturbance is a lack of responsibility for his actions. He said in a recent interview, “Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I just lay in bed, I cried, I tried to shake it off. I knew it was nothing but the devil, and I tried to shake it off.”

    None of us helps this young man by covering for him or offering him emotional/psychological crutches. He can begin helping himself by taking responsibility.

  6. Burroughston Broch

    Update on Mychal Bell, February 27, 2009:
    Ninth Judicial District Court Judge Thomas Yeager ruled Friday afternoon that all proceedings from Mychal Bell’s juvenile case in connection with the 2006 attack on a fellow Jena High student should be open to the public and media.

  7. Bo kaimuloa

    Its too bad the white people were doing the blacks wrong i know how it feels to not play the last year of football and its all because he was black

  8. Bo kaimuloa

    Its too bad the white people were doing the blacks wrong i know how it feels to not play the last year of football and its all because he was black.

  9. The DA was wrong to one target the all the black students involved. Also if punishment was given out it should have been given to everyone involved. Not just the Jena 6. That is racial activity in the government.

  10. Elijah McClain

    I feel you Bo they always got to bring the black man down.
    And rameica shut up cause you a buster

  11. EJz

    That sucks. Not playing a sport the last term, depending how serious you are about it it could be a reason to die. Racism is discrimination and bullshit!!!!

  12. Tom Laborie

    remember the fact that he also had a robbery under his belt….
    people seem to keep skipping that fact

  13. yaw is dumb. buhtt anywayss im eating takis & elijah is THAA homeboy.
    Tom you suck.
    Rihanna Too.
    This is too funny.
    2nd per is BOMB.
    i ❤ reggie bush.
    wahtta beautiful beautiful chocoltae man

  14. Mattique Rachelle.

    Wow you guys are all weird and you guys should been paying attention in class.
    Expecially Daniel && Donte’s weird nappy headed self.

    && Why yall hatingg on Alexis about her comb.
    She tries too look good all thee time so thats
    why she gotta comb. DUH! Hahha.

  15. Jordan Mckee

    ya Bo i feel you on that thing man. why they gatta do the black man wrong like that dood. like totally dood

  16. BrezyKay(:

    haha, everybody comments are funny! Alexis is just talking about her comb, and tom sounds really racist! And Fruitcup is just an idiot! lmaooo!
    so i had to write my own comment on this:
    I LOVE SUAHD!<3(:

  17. BrezyKay(:

    im not hatin’ on her comb, but danm she always has those combs!

    haha, mr.suckingtonnnnn is a queeer!

  18. Jordan butler

    The whole issue is ignorant my prayers are tot that young man..
    The student got beat down && thats what he deserved because he shouldn’t ave made
    any racial comments or hand gestures or hanging things up like that on the tree.
    i would have whooped him down myself
    the boys should have left the student alone in the 1st place what was the point of going over there and asking to sit under the tree
    regardless if the white students sit under the tree if the black students wouldn’t have cause problems the white boy wouldn’t had retaliated towards the six black students that attend the high school. Killing himself was past the point. NEWSFLASH”YOU CAN NOT KILL YOURSELF AND THEN CLEAN OFF A GUN”. Well this whole issue is Bullshit i hope that the young black student is starting off fresh and he is striving to keep that scholarship into go

  19. Jordan Mckee

    who is Braken blood 59 game? ima beat you up. Whats wit it??!?!? We can trow down right now!? whats craken

  20. Mattique Rachelle.

    Haha. Brianne. Yerr Right She Always Has Those Combs Man. Haha.
    I Hate Mr. Seckington. He Gets ON My Last Nerves!


  22. BrezyKay(:

    he never lets me peee,
    and i always gotta go cus its right after luch!

    hes a big menaie head!


  23. Mattique Rachelle.

    He says that if I go pee then i get a lunch detention.
    haha. i hate that.
    he looks like a walrus!

  24. BrezyKay(:

    he has fathead!
    like its huge!
    ben called him a queer in class, and he didnt say anything.

  25. Mattique Rachelle.

    Haha. Brianne: Haha. THats SO Mean. ughh. i hate him.

    JordanMckee: Haha. YOu Wish Ill Fight YOu Lets GO!

    Amanda: What amanda? I wanna know.

  26. Jamie fox

    Hey yall jamie fox is in the hisouse!!! man i love young kid talk lol you kids at kearny is funny

  27. Thee Kimsterr.

    Hey everyonee(: I felt left out by not commenting it yet. haha. Here is a shoutout to Amanda. And umm, I really think that you should see both sides of this issue. Dont go just for what color of skin that you have, go for the facts.
    haha,just wanted to get that out(:


    .. :)iL0VEyU GURLiE!.

    kN0 h0m0 LikE TONy R0M0!!…

  29. Mattique Rachelle.

    Yeah im mad. because theyy wanna say that im gay. hmmm.

    && im sorry mr brothaman. I wont comment on this anymore..

    buht whoever said that needs to come forward && say it.
    cause thats bull stuff.

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