WATERTOWN, CT (WFSB) — Two teens, a brother and sister, are dead after they were shot by their mother’s boyfriend in Watertown Tuesday night.
The victims were identified as 15-year-old Della Jette and 16-year-old Sterling Jette Jr. They were both students at Kaynor Technical High School in Waterbury.
Police said they were shot by 42-year-old Paul Ferguson. He shot himself in the head after shooting the two teens.
Officers were called to the home on Litchfield Road, or Route 63, after a woman said her boyfriend shot her son and daughter around 9:45 p.m.
Police said they found the two teenagers suffering from life-threatening gunshot wounds. The teens were taken to Waterbury Hospital where they were pronounced dead.
Officers said Ferguson was pronounced dead at the scene.
The victims’ mother was also on the scene, but was not hurt.
Officers were still seen scouring the scene on Wednesday.
According to police, Della Jette came home from a school field trip Tuesday evening and complained to her mother about Ferguson’s smoking habits inside of the house. The conversation led to an argument between Della Jette and Ferguson.
“They were simply having a verbal dustup,” said Chief John Gavallas, Watertown police. “[Ferguson] walked out of the room, came back with a gun and she was shocked, absolutely shocked. These domestic incidents can turn violent so quickly. [It’s] extremely unfortunate, dealing with two young victims.”
Ferguson armed himself with a glock, at which point Sterling Jette intervened.
Police said Ferguson at first shot Sterling Jette in the leg.
The teens’ mother ran out of the room to retrieve a phone to call for help.
That’s when police said she heard another shot, which turned out to be Ferguson shooting Della Jette in the chest out of the back deck of the home.
Ferguson then went back into the home and shot Sterling Jette in the chest, investigators said.
The shooter then closed himself in a bedroom and shot himself.
The mother was said to be cooperating with the investigation.
Police described Ferguson as a convicted felon who was not supposed to be in possession of a firearm. They said the conviction involved spousal sexual assault, but he pleaded down to unlawful restraint. Further details about that case were not released.
Officers said Ferguson had been dating the victims’ mother and moved into the home about two weeks ago.
Channel 3 was first on scene Tuesday night as police officers started investigating.
Officers also found a number of guns in the house. They said Ferguson had access to a safe.
The Watertown Police Department Detective Division said it is investigating the incident with the assistance of the Connecticut State Police Major Crime Squad.
Friends, peers remember brother and sister killed
On Wednesday, a memorial was set up outside a landscaping business where Sterling Jette worked, Evergreen Lawn and Landscape.
Friends of the two teenagers said they can’t wrap their heads around why this happened.
“Him and his sister didn’t deserve this,” said Garrett Kowalski, a friend. He added he’ll miss Sterling’s presence and how he could make anyone laugh.
“She’s a really sweet girl, she nice. Once you meet her, you would love her because she’s so sweet. And is really caring,” said Alivia Brophy, a friend of Della’s.
Sterling and Kowalski worked together at the landscaping business since March. Kowalski said he had just seen Sterling Tuesday night. They had both been out shoveling.
“We were just hanging out like we usually do. If we weren’t hanging out we were working together. We were like two peas in a pods. We were always together,” Kowalski said.
“Garrett and him had a vehicle and they were going around in charge of all the apartments and condos and spent the last 36 hours together,” said Collin Sieracki, of Evergreen Lawn and Landscape.
Sterling got his license over the summer and loved to work. He would split wood at the shop for hours.
Sterling and his sister played soccer. Della also played basketball.
Kaynor Tech officials released a statement on Wednesday morning.
“Our hearts go out to the students’ family and friends during this difficult time,” said Kerry Markey, director of communications, Connecticut Technical Education and Career System. “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 crisis team of counselors was also available at Swift Middle School in Watertown, where the victims attended school when their father committed suicide in 2016.
Investigators said the family also has close ties to the school community in Woodbury.
A vigil is being held Friday night at 6 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park in Watertown. Attendees are encouraged to bring a candle to light.
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