The mother of the teenager who shot and killed himself in front of his classmates nearly 30 years ago, inspiring Pearl Jam’s hit song “Jeremy,” has spoken out for the first time since his death.
Jeremy Delle was 15 years old when he shot himself in front of his classmates at Richardson High School in Dallas County, Texas, on Jan. 8, 1991. Delle’s mother, Wanda Crane, told WFAA that the day her son died “did not define his life.”
The mother recalled the fateful day and her state of disbelief when she heard what happened.
“I was in shock. Not my son,” she said. “I was going to pick him up that afternoon after school.”
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Brittany King, Delle’s former classmate who was in the room at the time of the incident, told WFAA it was a “wake-up call” that made her grow up quickly.
“This was a big wakeup call,” she said. “Like, you know what? Life is not all hunky-dory all the time. Real things, tragedies happen.”
King started tearing up when she recalled the incident.
“I remember thinking that, ‘Should I look?’ And I did, I looked. I don’t know why. I don’t know why I looked. And I’ll never forget. I will never forget it,” she said.
Delle’s death inspired Pearl Jam’s song “Jeremy.” The band’s frontman Eddie Vedder said he wrote the song after seeing a newspaper clipping on the teenager’s death, according to Billboard.
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King said she was “angry” at the band for writing the song about her late classmate.
“I was angry at them for writing that song,” King said. “I thought, ‘You don’t know. You weren’t there. That story isn’t accurate.'”
Following her son’s death, Wanda led a grief support group at her church and filled her home with the late teenager’s drawings. She told WFAA that when she sees school shootings in the news, she thinks of the affected families.
“It’s the mothers and the sisters that I want to wrap my arms around and tell them that someday it will be better,” she said.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).