Teen Anger

After young Joe Gallegos was let back into society, all hell broke loose.

But when Gallegos walked in the room, she says, she knew this confrontation would be different. His eyes stabbed all corners of the room. He paced aimlessly and brushed his short hair back with his hand over and over and over. He told her what he'd been thinking about in his sleepless night alone on the road: She had taken his life away by breaking up with him, so he was going to take her life away. He showed her the gun and said he wanted to shoot her in the backbone so that she would have to live out her life "squirming around."

Hocker says her strategy at that point was just to calm him down. She told him that he didn't want to do anything to get into trouble now. After all, he'd just been paroled and was out of trouble. "Not really, because I just killed my three roommates," Hocker recalls him saying. It was then that she noticed dried blood on the gun.

She asked him why he did it, and he said it was because he was going crazy. He pulled out the tape to The Crying Game and played the first song, saying that he had played the song the night before when he shot Josh and the two others. Hocker says this was when she realized her life was in serious danger, but she regarded him more as suicidal than homicidal: She believed him when he told her he was going to die that day. Hocker just wanted to figure out how to survive, so she agreed to his request that she write out a goodbye letter to his father. She wrote for him: "Dear Dad, Right now you've probably heard about what happened. I'm sorry. I wish I could have seen you again. Make sure you get my car. The key's are at Jess. I love you a lot, and I'm sorry for putting you through so much pain." He then wrote in his own hand: "I love you so much and I am really sorry." He signed it and gave her $185. She took the money and the letter and put them in an envelope.

Hocker says all she wanted to do was get away, so she talked him into letting her leave the room to use the bathroom. She went instead to 452, the room of Jennifer Seekamp, the resident assistant for her floor. "I was worried he was going to shoot me in the back as I walked down the hall," Hocker says.

She went in, locked the door and quickly apprised Seekamp and three other girls of the situation. One of the girls got on the phone and dialed 911. Seekamp looked through the peephole of the door and saw Gallegos standing just outside the door, she later told police. She looked again, and when she didn't see him there, said she wanted to check on the status of Hocker's roommate and her boyfriend. Before anybody could stop her, she unlocked and opened the door. The moment Seekamp opened the door, she found Joe Gallegos standing there silently.

Room 452 was no bigger than the other dorm rooms. Because it housed a resident assistant, it had just one bed instead of two. Even with one bed, though, it was a little crowded when Gallegos walked in. There were, in addition to Seekamp and Hocker, three other female freshmen--Ginny Mansfield, Robin Adams and Lara Von Tersch. Adams had been on the phone to the health center because she had a stomachache, but she had hung up and dialed 911 when Hocker came in the room and told them about Gallegos and the gun. According to Von Tersch, Gallegos asked Adams if she was calling the cops. She lied and said she was on the phone to the health center about her stomach. Gallegos pointed the gun at her midsection and said, "You want me to fix that for you?" He then accused them of calling the cops.

He turned to Hocker, who was sitting on the edge of the bed, and said, "You just had to go and make things worse." That's when he fired the gun for the first time since Bayfield. A bullet tore through the arch of her right foot and sandal. Blood splattered, but it did not gush from the hole. The other women in the room later said they were amazed that Hocker didn't either scream or pass out. She just held her leg, rocked back and forth and in a quiet voice said, "Ow, ouch, ow."

It was the only noise in the room, Von Tersch says, until Gallegos again accused the girls of calling the cops. They denied it again and then heard a voice in the hallway. Gallegos said it was a cop. The RA, Seekamp, said, "I'll go check." She said, "Look, they are arresting someone else down the hall." (She was right. The police ordered Elizabeth Reiboldt and her boyfriend to put their arms in the air when they emerged from Hocker's room.) Gallegos ordered Seekamp to come back. She asked why and called his bluff. He ordered her to stop, but she just kept walking. Gallegos shut the door, and the number of hostages dropped to four.

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