WATERTOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — One man and two teenagers have died following a shooting incident in Watertown Tuesday night.
According to Watertown police, officials say they received a 911 call around 9:45 p.m. The female caller, identified as mother Danielle Jette, told police her boyfriend shot her teenage son and daughter.
When police arrived to the home on 1190 Litchfield Road, they found the two teens suffering from gunshot wounds to the chest. The 15-year-old daughter was on the back deck of the home while the 16-year-old son was lying between the kitchen and living room.
Both were transported to Waterbury Hospital for life-threatening injuries. Police confirmed the two victims, identified as Della Jette, 15, and Sterling Jette Jr., 16, died shortly after arrival.
Officers say they also found the mother’s boyfriend and suspected shooter, identified as 42-year-old Paul W. Ferguson, in the home with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
Ferguson was dating the victims’ mother and moved into the home some time in November 2019.
Upon preliminary investigation, police say Danielle told officers there was an argument between the Ferguson and the Della over smoking issues, then the mother intervened to stop the argument.
As the argument escalated, police say Ferguson armed himself with a handgun stored in a safe he had access to. The son proceeded to intercede and Ferguson shot Sterling in the leg, continued onto the deck where Della was and shot her, then went back into the home and shot Sterling in the chest.
“The mother went downstairs to call 911 when she heard a second gunshot presumably when he shot the daughter on the deck. He came back into the house and shot the son in the chest,” said Chief John Gavallas, Watertown Police Dept.
After, the suspect closed himself in a bedroom and shot himself in the head, according to police.
Police added Ferguson was a convicted felon charged with sexual assault that pleaded down to unlawful restraint and was restricted from possessing a firearm. According to the Naugatuck Police Department, Ferguson was arrested in 2014 for suspected larceny and again in 2016 for alleged drunk driving.
The mother is cooperating with the investigation.
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Both Della Jette and Sterling Jette Jr, attended Kaynor Technical High School in Waterbury and had close ties to the Watertown and Woodbury school communities.
Superintendent of Schools Jeffrey Wihbey released a statement Wednesday morning regarding the deadly shooting:
“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.”– Jeffrey Wihbey, Superintendent of Schools, Watertown
Friends of the teens are in shock and devastated.
“It was mostly a shock. I didn’t expect something to happen in that house. Him and Della were the glue to our friend group. We’re all going through a hard time,” said Garrett Kowalski, a friend of Della and Sterling.
“I’ve been crying all day. This is my best friend,” said Nicholas Mastrofrancesco.
Friends gathered at a memorial Wednesday in front of the landscaping business where Sterling worked. His best friend says the best way to honor Sterling’s life is to support and hire local trade students for miscellaneous tasks.
“That’s exactly what Sterling would want. His dream was to open is own shop,” said Mastrofrancesco.
And that’s not the first time that the home has known tragedy. The former husband of Danielle, Sterling Jette Sr., killed himself in a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head three years prior.