Dennis Reeves

Police seek answers in mysterious Texas principal suicide [EXCLUSIVE]

The sudden death of a beloved high school principal has shocked students and residents in Kirbyville, Texas, as police search for answers as to why the husband and father who appeared to love his job would have taken his own life.

As Crime Online previously reported, Dennis Reeves, 45, died from a gunshot wound, believed to be self-inflicted, shortly after offering his resignation as principal of Kirbyville High School Tuesday afternoon.

A motive for the apparent suicide is not yet known, and Kirbyville Police Chief Paul Brister told Crime Online that police still don’t know exactly what was said in the meeting during which Reeves gave his resignation. It may be days before they know more.

Only two others attended the meeting with Reeves: Superintendent Tommy Wallis and Assistant Superintendent Georgia Sayers.

Wallis told the local newspaper The Eagle that there was nothing particularly out of ordinary about the meeting, which the superintendent said he called “to visit with [Reeves] about a couple of things — summer school, staffing patterns, several things to discuss.”

The newspaper report did not say that any reason was given for Reeves’s resignation, and Chief Brister told Crime Online that the school officials have not yet told police why Reeves resigned. It appears to have been an abrupt decision, as the 45-year-old made no mention of his plans to leave his position in several recent Facebook posts referring to end-of-year and graduation activities.

Chief Brister said he had spoken to Reeves’s wife, and that he did not believe she was aware Reeves was planning to resign.

“She was terribly distraught,” Brister said, adding that he did not think it was the time to press her with a lot of questions.

Brister said that Wallis and Sayers were preparing a written statement to police about the details of the principal’s final meeting.

When asked why the superintendent and assistant superintendent could not tell police verbally why Reeves resigned, Chief Brister corrected the use of the word “couldn’t.”

“Wouldn’t,” he said.

Brister said that at the time, police were focused on a number of other issues.

“I didn’t push it yet,” he said. “But we will.”

Brister said he doesn’t expect the statements to arrive before Tuesday.

“The school district has attorneys, too. I am guessing they are talking to their lawyers,” Brister said, while adding that he does not believe the school district is trying to cover something up.

The police chief also said that while an initial investigation strongly suggests Reeves took his own life, the principal’s death has not yet been officially ruled a suicide.

An autopsy has been completed, Brister said, though “there is other evidence that we have collected that still needs to be processed before we can 100 percent say it was a suicide.”

Tommy Wallis did not immediately respond to an interview request.

 

Photo: Handout