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Another volunteer assistant, Rudy Isom--who was at the party when Bobby killed himself--says bluntly: "This kid had jumped out of two- and three-story buildings before, he would run full steam into walls at malls. He wasn't scared of anything, and that included guns."
AS BOBBY'S FIRST semester at ASU moved along, he hooked up with a Phoenix kid he'd met at a national wrestling tourney. Homer Moore was a 1990 graduate of Maryvale High School, where he'd been an undefeated state-champion wrestler and team captain in his senior year.
The pair had much in common--they were black teenagers who loved to party, loved the ladies and loved to wrestle. The main difference was in academics: Bobby enjoyed school, while Moore's high school grades were too low to get him into a major college.
Moore enrolled at Phoenix College--Arizona's sole community college with a wrestling program--but he spent more and more time in Tempe, often sleeping on a floor at the dormitory.
"It wasn't all partying, no way," Moore says, as he pulls out a handful of photos at the east Phoenix apartment he shares with his aunt and nephew. He peers at a snapshot of himself and Bobby for half a minute before continuing.
"He was helpin' me come around with the studies. Really. He could figure out shit so quick. He had the biggest smile you ever saw and we was tight as vice grips. He'd wake me up at four in the morning to study--sleep an hour here and there. He'd holler at me like my dad, but he really cared about how you felt."
Moore invited Bobby to his mom's home for Thanksgiving dinner. "He was lonely, even though he had a lot of friends," Moore says. "He missed his own mom a lot. He ate like a horse, ate and ate and ate. It was a happy day."
But Bobby Janisse's demons were silently eating away at his fragile psyche. "He was like a role model to me with the studying and all," says Moore, "but I'll admit that when no one was around, we did some bad things. There was no stopping him. It was me and him against the world--that's the way it was."
By his friends' accounts, Bobby didn't associate with Phoenix's gangs--"The gangs wasn't Bobby no more," says Homer Moore. "He wasn't bangin' down here."
But Bobby Douglas' prized recruit was a thief. His friends and Tempe cops say Bobby Janisse stole thousands of dollars of merchandise--bicycles, schoolbooks that he'd sell to the ASU bookstore, and about anything at convenience stores.
One time, Homer Moore says, "He got caught stealing a tape from Tower Records. The guy was going to have him arrested, but Bobby put a move on him and ran away. He left his bike behind."
Moore laughs when asked if Bobby returned later to retrieve the bicycle. "Nah," he says. "It was stolen, anyway."
Bobby finished his first semester at ASU with a low-B average, a decent enough start. His academic adviser Bettie Julkes says she was planning to recommend him for ASU's honors program. He told her he was considering a career in law enforcement, ironic considering his ongoing thefts. As the spring term started, Bobby continued to steal from fellow students and convenience stores. He was drinking more and more often, though there's no evidence he was taking drugs. One female friend says Bobby was acting "crazier" than normal--dancing faster, laughing louder, cutting up incessantly.
His relationship with his girlfriend provides a clue to his mental state at the time. Bobby had met the McClintock High School senior through his friend Homer Moore. He liked her well enough and vice versa, but the couple couldn't seem to go more than a few days without breaking up, then making up.
Shortly before the fatal night, Bobby Young saw Bobby Janisse exhibit a rare temper tantrum. "Bobby was talking on the phone to his girlfriend. Homer Moore said in the background, `Let that bitch go,' and she heard it. She hung up and Bobby freaked. He grabbed this wooden chair and threw it up against the wall, busted it into splinters. Then he ran out and didn't come back for an hour. When he came back, he was fine. We couldn't figure it out, because we didn't think he was hung up on her." There was far more on Bobby's mind than girlfriend problems. He confided in Homer Moore that he was worried about his mother's pending surgery for gynecological troubles. He said he couldn't wait to go home for spring break.
In February, Bobby had found himself a handgun. Roommate Jeff Theiler says a young black man from South Phoenix sold Bobby the .38 for a twelve-pack of beer and a stolen bicycle. Bobby told his new girlfriend that he needed the gun "for protection" in Arizona. He didn't specify from what.
Theiler bought bullets for the gun--in Arizona, you're supposed to be 21 to purchase ammo, and Theiler looked older than Bobby. Bobby took to firing the gun in a field near the dormitory. One night, Tempe police responded to reports of shots being fired on campus. They chased Bobby Janisse, but he escaped.