Mayor James T. Butts adjourned this week’s City Council meeting in memory of Xavier William Patterson, the son of Niesan Elliott-Johnson and Luc-Richard Elie, whose short life ended by suicide a few days after spending an exceptionally pleasant day with his family during the prior weekend.
Xavier was reared in Inglewood and participated in all of the sports programs at Darby and Rogers Park. He was an all-around athlete participating in football, basketball, track and tennis. He attended Kelso Elementary and La Tijera Middle School before transferring to North Hollywood High School to complete his high school studies. Xavier was an average student and, aside from occasional anger management issues, there had not been any indication that he was contemplating a life-ending episode.
Aside from a major altercation at his school, where six students attacked him, a few days before his fatal decision to take his own life, Xavier had not demonstrated any signs of severe depression or hopelessness. The family is seeking answers from school officials to determine if their action or inaction following the Thursday school episode may have contributed to his decision.
Xavier is survived by three sisters and one brother who, along with his friends and family, are struggling to understand why he took his own life. His mother said, “Our angel is gone and I know that he would not want anyone else to hurt,” as she urged parents to talk with their children and children to talk to their parents.
Experts explain that parents should give their children suggestions for whom he or she can turn to in times of need—including themselves, as well as other trusted adults. They may also wish to consult with their pediatrician. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended all children over age 12 be screened for depression at their annual wellness exams. For any immediate concerns about your child, parents should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-TALK, or text START to 74174.