Train death identified as Gunn grad Brian Taylor

Mother quoted in news report that her son suffered from mental illness

The young man who stepped in front of a Caltrain Friday night has been identified as Brian Bennion Taylor, 19, a 2008 graduate of Gunn High School -- where he was a member of the varsity wrestling and tennis teams and active in student affairs.

Taylor was identified by the Santa Clara County Coroner's Office, which has not officially ruled his death a suicide, however.

Taylor was hit by a southbound train at 11:45 p.m. Friday about 150 yards north of the Meadow Drive crossing, where four other young persons have died since last May, three of them Gunn students and one an incoming Gunn student.

According to news reports, postings on Facebook and online forums, Taylor was the eldest of nine brothers and sisters and had been active in youth leadership within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He had attended Brigham Young University last year, but dropped out, according to an e-mail his mother, Marian, sent to the San Jose Mercury News.

The Mercury reported that she said she believes Brian committed suicide, and that he had been suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, the reason for his leaving Brigham Young.

"We are so sad at the passing of our son but we are grateful for our faith in a loving God and we treasure every moment of the almost 20 years we had with him," the mother was quoted as saying in the e-mail.

"His acute illness affected every aspect of his life," she said.

Taylor was an active student at Gunn, where he was named homecoming prince in his senior year. He was the service chair for student body, and received a presidential service award for performing 250 community-service hours in a year, his mother said in the e-mail. She said he loved reading and during summers had jobs that including being a legal assistant and a ranch hand.

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Like this comment
Posted by Vera
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jan 25, 2010 at 12:14 pm

My deepest sympathies to Brian's family.

Like this comment
Posted by Active Resident
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 25, 2010 at 9:06 pm

My heart goes out to Brian's mom and dad. I know first hand the trauma, terror and tragedy of bipolar and schizophrenia. My husband developed it in his early 20's. It is a "fatal disease" resulting in his suicide after years and years of $$$$ psychiatrists (the best) electro-shock therapy and many many drug therapies. It was horrific for him. He ended his life in 1995 after suffering tremendous mental horror brought on by his own illness for 14 years. After months of anguish after his death, we now know he is at peace with God. Mental illness is a monster. Brian, I am sure, tried is best to live.

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