It was cloudy and sixty four degrees outside and looked like it could rain some more. The
Dallas Texas suburb community of Richardson was usually colder than this in January and
the milder weather had been unusual. Jeremy was getting ready for second period English.
Mrs. Barnett was never very tolerant of students coming in late. Tuesday January 8th, 1991
was to be no exception.
Lisa Moore was getting ready for her second period class. Her boyfriend was on her 'short
list' for his actions over the past weekend and she was ready to talk about it with her
new found friend from in-school suspension. Despite the 'no talking policy' and the
'solitary like treatment' intended as punishment for in-school suspension students, part
of her looked forward to this segment of the day that came a little after one p.m.
Jeremy was always a good listener, even if it was on paper only. He seemed to want her to
talk about her boyfriend and she had learned more about her true feelings from doing so.
Lisa needed to talk today. She needed to have another human being look at her feelings in
the daylight (an on paper) and she needed to get their perspective of those feelings. The
true measure of her emotions would probably come out today; at least she hoped it would,
in the hour and ten minutes immediately following lunch time. Jeremy would manage to give
her his opinion one way or the other before the suspension period ended. He would also
manage to cheer her up as well, as he had so many times before in the past.
Jeremy's in class notes always ended with 'write back' . Lisa hadn't paid any attention
when Monday's note had ended with 'later days' .
Joseph Delle had one son. His 1979 divorce from his lovely wife Wanda had been
particularly hard on his one son, Jeremy. His father's guilt and his mother' s bitterness
had caused a whole flurry of emotion in Jeremy's young life. The closer he got to high
school graduation, the worse these emotional flurries seemed to be becoming. He couldn't
remember a time when he himself had experienced any type of 'normal' childhood, complete
with two happy parents and happy siblings. Jeremy couldn't remember any usually happy
times in his whole damn life for that matter, much less any involving his parents. The
happiest he had ever been was during the rare times he got to spend with his friends, and
more over, his friends families while staying the night at one of their homes. The longing
for happiness had turned into a numb like existence during the tenth grade year, somewhere
between fall and early winter, and the bleak outlook held no promise of positive change
any time soon. Being sixteen years old hadn't turned out to be the " most fun a boy could
have" kind of time that some other young men seemed to experience.
Lisa had a boyfriend, and even if she didn't, she wouldn' t want * him* to be her
boyfriend anyway. She laughed at his jokes and he was amusing enough to help her through
this one little time in her life when she would be remotely in the same realm of existence
Jeremy's rut his life had fallen into, or never actually been out of. Jeremy Delle knew
all of these things and knowing was absolutely no comfort.
He had been able to sneak his dad' s most prized possession out of the house without
detection. His dad wouldn' t have an occasion to notice its absence and he wouldn' t be
looking for it, for that matter. How could he look for something when he was only home to
sleep and take a shower? His dad barely seemed to notice if Jeremy was home, much less if
anything small was missing from the house. Something that small could get lost easy enough
anyway. It had been 'lost' in Jeremy' s locker since eight a.m. Monday morning.
Mrs. Fay Barnett was looking around at her second period' s empty chairs. There were the
usual two on the right that were always empty, and one in the back that had become more
and more empty as of late. It had become a normal sight not to see the brown haired
sixteen years old boy in it. She had let it slide on more than one occasion but when there
are obvious abuses; she knew she had put a stop to such repetitive tardiness. It was for
the betterment of the student to learn punctuality if they intend to have any type of
successful life. They must learn to be on time and ready to go. They must learn right now,
and this learning must not be put off, because life doesn' t wait for late people. College
and jobs and everything else that comes after mustn' t be kept waiting. Mrs. Fay Barnett
decided this at nine o five a.m. January 8th, 1991.
Jeremy had seen Lisa Moore in the main hallway of the school when he had first arrived,
but she hadn' t seen him. He didn' t want her to see him for that matter. She was the only
thing that was remotely positive in his sixteen year old turbulent life and he couldn' t
let something like her smiling at him be any kind of deterrent. She could easily smile at
him and this whole thing could fall apart. Jeremy had things to do today and he couldn' t
risk it. Lisa had power over him and he knew it as much as he knew anything else.
Jeremy' s stomach had grown into a turbulent mass of swirling emotion. The sick feeling
that he might throw up had led him to go into the farthest stall of the closest bathroom
to hover over the toilet, in hopes of throwing up and feeling better for what he knew must
come next. He had planned this whole thing since the weekend and with five minutes left
before 'show time' he couldn' t let his current state of nausea keep him from his task at
hand... There was no food in his stomach to throw up, and when the second bell rang, he
gave up any hope of doing so. At ten minutes after nine a.m., he left the men' s restroom
of Richardson High School for his date with teenage infamy.
Fay Barnett was ready when she heard the door open. She was facing the board but she knew
who it was and she also knew how she was going to handle it. The after class warnings and
gentle talks had failed to help the worsening tardiness of Jeremy Delle. Fay Barnett was
going to fix the problem once and for all before it got any worse. She had to save face in
front of the other students and there was no other choice in her mind but to call him on
it. He would have to get 'Principals permission' to enter her class today. He would have
to go to the school' s office and his tardiness problems would become known. She had to do
it and he would have to adjust to it. She had decided this and she was going to do it. She
had to do it.
Jeremy was counting on her to do it.
With her back still turned facing the board, Jeremy quietly closed the door behind him
self and quickly made his way to his seat. He gripped a piece of paper in his right hand
and sat down with a thud behind the male student seated in front of him that he didn't
normally speak to. Mrs. Barnett turned around just as he was opening his book and looking
to see what page the girl beside him was turned to. "
Jeremy, you' re going to need a pass. Go to the office and get one now!" She said sternly
in a voice unfamiliar to the thirty one students who were seated in her second period
English class. She would question this moment of sternness for the rest of her life.
Jeremy got up and walked towards the class room door. He briefly looked up at the teacher
through his long straight bangs that often hid his dark blue eyes. He placed the note from
his hand on the desk of the boy who sat in front of him. The boy he never spoke too. The
boy who never spoke to him. The boy who would wait thirty seven minutes before reading
Jeremy' s stomach still churned violently but he didn' t stop at the rest room this time.
He didn' t go to the office either. He quickly walked the two hundred and twenty feet to
his locker and opened it, silently retrieving the 357magnum revolver that his father
usually kept in the dresser drawer beside his bed. There were six rounds loaded in the
weapon and it felt cold and heavy and he placed it inside his jacket and made his way back
to the waiting class room filled with thirty students and one middle aged female teacher.
There were no students in the hallway and nobody was standing in his way. It was nine
"Did you get the tardy slip Jeremy?" Fay Barnett asked him in a less stern tone than she
had used forty five seconds earlier. "That was really fast." Jeremy walked towards her
desk, stopping short half way and facing the class.
" Miss, I got what I really went after," he said in an audible voice for all to hear,
without the slightest hint of emotion, as he pulled the pistol from inside his jacket
pocket and placed it in his mouth. Thirty students sat upright and silently looked
directly at him, as the shocking and surreal event unfolded in front of them. The teacher
put her hand to her mouth as the deafening 357 magnum bullet exploded from the back of his
head and violently impacted the black board that she had written new words on just that
morning. The red spattering of blood obscured the words and the blood instantly began to
run down the wall. Jeremy fell forward to his knees and slumped over onto the floor. The
gun, still in his right hand, disappeared beneath him as his body collapsed limply on the
floor. The student' s screams began before his body' s falling motion was complete. A girl
from the front row ran from the room screaming hysterically, thus alerting neighboring
classrooms to the occurrence of the deadly event. Everyone had heard the gun shot, but no
one believed it had actually been a gun shot. The girl's screaming told them otherwise.
At nine fifteen a.m. central standard time, on Tuesday January 8th, 1991, Jeremy Wade
Delle took his own life with a 357 magnum handgun in front of thirty students in Mrs. Fay
Barnett' s tenth grade English class, in Richardson, Texas. The students were taken from
the classroom and were attended by a group of twenty grief counselors called to the school
from nearby Dallas, Texas. The students who witnessed this event were allowed to leave
school for the remainder of the school day, but were encouraged to stay and receive
counseling. Few students discussed anything beyond telling of the event they witnessed and
how it occurred. Classes for the day were not canceled.