Attorney Matt Morgan will represent the family of Lamar Jazz Hawkins III, the 14-year-old Florida teen who investigators say shot himself in the head in a Seminole County middle school bathroom stall last Friday after being the victim of alleged bullying for years.
“The child was a relatively small child for his age due to complications early in life,” Morgan said in a statement. “As a result, he became a very easy target for mean-spirited bullies.”
Hawkins’ father, Lamar Hawkins Sr., said he reported “multiple times” to Greenwood Lakes Middle School that his son was the victim of bullying, with some instances occurring as recently as last week, Morgan said.
Hawkins’ family went to great lengths to try to protect their son from bullying, including, according to Hawkins Sr., moving the family from New York to Florida looking for reprieve from the abuse.
According to reports from the Seminole County sheriff’s department, Hawkins’ mother went to her son’s school around 5 p.m. Wednesday to pick him up, but was unable to find him. After returning home and searching for him with family members, Hawkins was reported missing to law enforcement.
After a thorough search of surrounding neighborhoods and the boy’s school, Hawkins was found dead in a bathroom stall with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
“The conduct of these bullies is morally reprehensible,” Morgan told WKMG in Orlando. “Bullying has become an epidemic in our country which needs to be recognized and acted upon.”
At a press conference Monday morning, Morgan announced a fund had been created to help Hawkins’ family pay for their son’s funeral expenses and other costs related to his death.
To help Hawkins’ family pay for funeral expenses and other costs related to his death, a donation fund has been set up at GoFundMe.com. Click here to learn more or to make a donation.
At the conference, Hawkins’ mother, Shaniqua, fighting back tears, said she felt “a feeling I hope no other parent has to fear” when her son endured continual bullying through his time in school, adding that she felt paralyzed by her inability to stop the abuse.
“Despite the constant attacks, he never let the bullies see him sweat,” Shaniqua said. “We now know that he was unable to continue his fight against the bullies. They won, because he took his life as a result.”