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Connecticut Teens Fatally Shot By Mom’s Boyfriend After Argument About Him Smoking In The House

WFSB 3/YouTube

*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm and murder.*

Two teen siblings were shot dead in their own home Tuesday night by their mother’s boyfriend, 42-year-old Paul Ferguson, in Watertown, Connecticut.

15-year-old Della Jette and her 16-year-old brother, Sterling Jette Jr. were killed Tuesday evening after Ferguson and Della argued about his habit of smoking inside their home. The argument began because Della was having a fairly loud conversation with her mother upstairs in their home about Ferguson’s habit of smoking cigarettes in the house.

Ferguson had only moved in with the family two weeks prior, so such frustrations are understandable. His reaction, however, was not.

When Ferguson heard the conversation and went upstairs to intervene, police say that the situation resulted in a “dust-up” between Ferguson and Della. Ferguson then went to the master bedroom and retrieved a Glock handgun from a safe there.

When Sterling tried to intercede as he returned to where Della was with the gun, Ferguson shot him in the leg, then proceeded to shoot Della.

When the teens’ mother, Danielle Jette, ran downstairs to call 911, she heard a second gunshot. Police believe that Ferguson shot Della outside on the deck and then went back inside and shot Sterling again in the chest.

He then went back to the master bedroom and fatally shot himself.

Ferguson was a convicted felon, so he could not have legally owned or possessed the firearm that he used to kill himself and the teens.

Both teens were transported to Waterbury Hospital as soon as emergency services arrived at their home, but both were pronounced dead soon after their arrival at the hospital. Ferguson was pronounced dead at the scene.

You can view local news station WFSB 3’s coverage of the tragedy below.

A grief counseling team has been placed at local junior high and high schools to assist those who were affected by the tragedy. Both Della and Sterling were students at the local schools through junior high and, though both attended W.F. Kaynor Technical High School in Waterbury, both still maintained close ties to students in the Watertown and Woodbury school communities.

Both Sterling and Della played soccer and Della also played basketball. Their teammates are among those mourning their loss.

Kerry Markey, director of communications at the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System, released a statement Wednesday morning regarding the incident and its effect on the school community.

“Our hearts go out to the students’ family and friends during this difficult time. There is nothing worse that can happen to a school community. Our number one priority right now is doing all we can to support our students, staff and families through this crisis.”

“Prior to the start of the school day, Kaynor Tech assembled the school’s crisis team. The team will provide grief counseling to students and anyone in the school community who may need it over the coming days.”

A vigil is being held at Veterans Memorial Park in Watertown on Friday at 6 p.m. A GoFundMe fundraiser has also been created to benefit Sterling and Della’s family.

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

If you or someone you know is being abused by a partner or family member, you can find help by visiting https://www.thehotline.org/ or calling 1-800-799-7233. La asistencia está disponible en español.

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Written by Winn Sioux Christnot-Peters

Winn Sioux Christnot-Peters is a writer/web designer and aspiring librarian based in Northern Maine. When not writing or in class, they devote much of their time to multiple non-profit organizations, largely focusing on LGBTQ+ rights and animal welfare. During rare moments of free time Winona enjoys video and tabletop games, as well as various nerdy fiber crafts such as crocheting (mainly amigurumi Pokémon, cat toys, and blankets) and counted cross stitch.