January 8, 1991
15-year-old Jeremy Delle kills himself in front of his classmates
During his second-period English class, Delle left the room briefly after telling his teacher he needed to retrieve a medical slip from his locker to excuse his tardiness. He returned, stood near the teacher’s desk, said “This is what I came back to do,” put a .357 Magnum revolver in his mouth, and fired. His suicide was witnessed by 30 classmates and his teacher. Delle left behind a suicide note, though the contents have not been made public.
The Pearl Jam song “Jeremy” was loosely inspired by Delle’s suicide (as well as a school shooting incident Pearl Jam singer-songwriter Eddie Vedder experienced in his own school which resulted in no deaths or injuries), though it has been criticized by Delle’s family for misrepresenting him and his motives.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, available 24 hours a day in the US, at 1-800-273-8255, text “Home” to 741741, or call your country’s emergency services number.
Izaguire, Cynthia. “Jeremy: The real story about the tragedy behind the Pearl Jam song.” WFAA. October 31, 2018. Accessed: January 8, 2019. https://www.wfaa.com/mobile/article/news/jeremy-the-real-story-about-the-tragedy-behind-the-pearl-jam-song/287-610080379
Denton, Tommy. “When the thread of hope breaks.” Chicago Tribune. February 28, 1991
“H.S. students recovering after shocking suicide.” The Monitor [McAllen, Texas]. January 9, 1991