A 17-year-old Warren boy committed suicide by jumping from a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 696 during rush hour Friday morning, police said.

Garrett Mezuk, a senior at Warren Mott High School, died at St. John Macomb Hospital at 8:50 a.m. -- approximately 45 minutes after he plunged from the walkway to the right shoulder of the eastbound lanes, just west of Ryan Road, police said.

Word of the incident spread quickly through the school, located on 12 Mile near Dequindre Road.

Counselors from across the Warren Consolidated school district were sent to a somber Mott High to help staff and students deal with their grief.

"(Mezuk's) death is a tragic loss to his family and the students of the school district," Warren Consolidated spokesman William Kiefer said. "At a time like this, there are many questions as to why this tragedy has happened. These are among many of the painful questions that his family and friends will be asking and for which they will attempt to find answers."

More than 350 students and some staffers sought the assistance of counselors. Several students having difficulty were allowed to leave school with parent supervision.

Becky Michalak, who resides on eastbound 11 Mile Road, said she stepped outside around 7:30 a.m. to grab her newspaper, and saw a young male staying on the crosswalk that students in her neighborhood use to get to Mott High School or Beer Middle School.

"I didn't think anything of it. I thought he was waiting for a friend," she said. "He was just kind of standing there, real nonchalant."

Michalak drove her daughters to school, stopped at a market and saw commotion along her street after the teen had jumped.

Some motorists pulled over.

"He was lying there and people were around him calling 911," said a woman who declined to give her name to a reporter. "As soon as I got there I asked, 'What happened?' They said he jumped."

The woman said she works as a medical assistant in the area and that she initially detected a pulse shortly before paramedics arrived.

"I feel bad I couldn't do more to help him. There was nothing more I could do," she said.

The pedestrian overpass is fenced on both sides and partially overhead. Police said Mezuk climbed through the opening and along the outside before jumping approximately 30 feet to the paved shoulder of the freeway.

"We think he stood up there and contemplated it for a while. We're not sure for the reasoning," Lt. Scott Pavlik said.

Investigators late Friday afternoon were still trying to pinpoint what prompted Mezuk to take his own life.

"We do have some information, but nothing we've nailed down yet," Detective Cpl. Mark Christian said. "This was not an accident. Nobody pushed him."

Police said the teen sent an e-mail to a family member Friday morning and abruptly left home.

"He had discussed going away for a while. There was no explicit threat that he was going to harm himself," Christian said.

The content of the electronic message concerned a family member who phoned police shortly after 7:30 a.m. Warren police issued a radio bulletin including a description of the teen.

At 8:05 a.m., police received calls that someone jumped from the crosswalk.