News coverage – UNT Texashistory

The Portal to Texas History of University of North Texas provided several KXAS-NBC 5 TV News reports from Jan 08 and Jan 09, 1991, 5 and 6 p.m. with very interesting eyewitness accounts, as well as coverage on the follow up actions of RISD and RHS staff.

First news clip was aired on Jan 08, 1991, 5 p.m. on KXAS-NBC 5

[News Clip: School suicide] on The Portal to Texas History.

Transcript (courtesy of KXAS-TV (Television station : Fort Worth, Tex.))

Everyone wants to know why and that’s a question we can’t answer. We need to focus on the positive.”
But what is the positive? A 16-y.o. walked down the hall into a Richardson High English class today and his emotions, his agenda far short of positive. As his classmates watched, he approached the teacher with a gun.
“..and tell the teacher, as he was standing by her desk, “this is what he really need”, and place the gun in his mouth and shot himself”

“I was right across the room at my locker, and I heard a shot and a girl came screaming out of the room, Oh my god”
“people started running out of the room screaming and running everywhere and teachers were everywhere and police officers showed up”

Dead by his own hands, 16 y.o. Jeremy Wade Delle, police say he used a 357 Magnum. No one knows where he got it.
During our visit in the school, several students came up to me and stated that the boy has often complained of problems, problems here at school and at home but none of them could go so far as to say they would ever believe that it could lead to what happened here this morning.

“Kinda gives you a scary feeling, you know, I mean, what can be done, how do you find out about things like that, how do you help stop it? How do you keep things like that happening, you know?”
“How can you prevent it?”
And the sad story ends the same it began. More questions than answers.
Larry Mullins, Texas News 5

Second voiceover-to-sound clip – interview with eyewitness – aired on Jan 08, 1991, 6 p.m. on KXAS-NBC 5

[News Clip: School suicide] on The Portal to Texas History.

Transcript (courtesy of KXAS-TV (Television station : Fort Worth, Tex.))

“When he walked into the room, I’ll be standing right behind him…and..he just looked at the teacher and he said “Well, this is what had, has to be done”, and he just put the gun in his mouth and he shot himself”

Third clip features follow up news coverage of counseling of RHS students; Jan 09, 1991, 5 p.m. on KXAS-NBC 5

[News Clip: Suicide] on The Portal to Texas History.

Transcript (courtesy of KXAS-TV (Television station : Fort Worth, Tex.))

(Counseling session) “I finally realized , you know, I really wanna die, so I started talking to people”
Narrator: This is a suicide intervention and counseling session at Daytop Outreach Center at Richardson.
(Counselor) “You have to be real open that, number 1: you don’t wanna get high , number 2: you don’t wanna die”
Narrator: This is an avenue for kids to talk about suicidal tendencies, as well as the emotional pain of seeing someone carry it out. Parents, Teachers, Crisis Counselors – all involved in related meetings at Richardson High. Where there is a lot about adolescent fear and anxiety.
(Interview) “It kinda gives you a scary feeling, you know”
Narrator: It’s over 16 y.o. Jeremy Delle, who walked to the front of his class on Tuesday, put a gun to his mouth and pulled the trigger.
Questions… (Interview) “For example…My gosh, he didn’t look crazy to me, just came in here and shot himself? Could that happen to me? Could I do that? Could my friend do that? Could it happen again in this classroom?”
Narrator: The classroom where it happened was closed today, students held class elsewhere.
Experts believe going back now would be just too much.
(Interview) “They have a lot of pain, they have a lot fear, and for many, the place where the death occurred can be the place of fear and anxiety”
(Counselor) “..and Warren, you also have to be open ” And the experts say that’s the key to helping your children get over this suicide not to mention cut off suicidal tendencies.
(Interview) “I’ll encourage them to talk. And I mean, really, when you sit down with your kids, say, let’s talk about what happened. ”
Narrator: And with the hope that what happened, won’t happen again.
(Counseling session) “Does that scare you a little bit?” *shakes head* “It should” ” It was not something I heard before…” – “Well what does it do to you
when people tell you that…’whatever'” – “slightly.. *gesture*” /fade out

/comment: The kids look confused and overwhelmed. The counselor lady came off a bit cold but that could be due to the TV people there. Most of the time, Jeremy was also overwhelmed and confused.
There were at least three other suicides in the mid to late 1980’s involving students of Richardson HS. I’m not aware of any preventive measurements being put in place. Anybody has more info on the follow up measurements?

Brittany K. gave an interview to WFAA, detailing the shocking aftermath after witnessing the events in the English classroom. “Shock and fear went into my mind. All the students ran to the back of the room and kind of huddled together.” She pondered if she should look. “Should I look? I don’t know why I looked but I did. And I’ll never forget it.”

Apart from the counseling offer from RISD in the following days, was there any follow up treatment plans for the witness’ and the other kids?

It is known that RHS had incorporated the PALS systems before, as well as WINGS (Willing Individuals N-thusiastically Guiding Students), which was an initiative to welcome new students to RHS, to help them feel more comfortable by introducing them to WINGS members, showing them school specifics and organizing holiday celebrations and welcoming parties.
Then there was TOPS (Teens offering peer support, est. 1989? but dropped, made comeback in 1992), a program that enabled peer helpers to be chosen via survey. After spending some time in training in order to learn how to help themselves and others, TOPS would act as student counselors and if needed, as friends. There is no report on how successful those measures were.

Aftermath – Family and Friends

Read the Delle family statements and the suicide note he sent to Nancy here

There is also a source that disclosed more of the last note. Info can also found here and here. Whether this is valid or not can not be said with certainty. But the last paragraph, addressed to Nancy, is genuine, as it was mentioned in the police report.

“To whoever I decide this is to, I have a lot going on, a little too much, more than what I can handle. I’m in too much pain, and I just want YOU to understand why I’m doing this.
I don’t hate myself I hate what’s going on in my life, my parents, a new school. I feel like I don’t fit in nowhere.

I realize that there will be friends that will try to ask me why. Because I feel like I have to, I feel it’s the only way.
I figure it’s been so many ya’ll won’t even know I’m gone and as for ones that tried to hurt me, you didn’t.

Sorry, Nancy, by the time you get this letter I will have blown my head off, aka suicide, better known as (last way out). News flash – not your fault. It’s Michelle’s along with about 137.5 other problems. I was just writing to see if you wanted to go to the funeral. Call my house and ask for my Dad, 690-5338. At least you didn’t have to hear the boom.
Love, Jeremy Wade Delle

Jeremy sent several audio cassette tapes to different friends in Texas and Dallas, explaining in detail his bout with depression, speaking about his life in general.

Unfortunately, not a single minute of those tapes was ever disclosed and police had to destroy all those sent in after investigation was done.

Effectively, no one except his close friends (and family of course) know what his voice sounded like or what accent he had, which is a bummer.

Police remarked that on the tapes that were sent in, Jeremy would sometimes seem upbeat, sometimes down and depressed. He also spoke about his suicide attempt on at least one tape. Jeremy would send the tapes along with letters that went into detail about the feelings he harbored for the person the tape was sent to.

Joseph would turn in tapes as evidence after the 9th of January. Police noted that the tapes were significant but not relevant to the case, suggesting the investigation was nearly over.

Jeremy wrote several notes to different persons, spreading several hints about his problems and his suicidal intentions which were misinterpreted.

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