GLENDALE, AZ–Last week's suicide of Glendale 16-year-old Adrian Lucas came as no surprise to his parents, who "saw it coming a mile away," according to a statement made by the couple Tuesday.
"I wish I could say this came as a huge shock to us, but it really didn't," said Roberta Lucas, who on Sept. 4 came home from work to find her son dead on the living-room floor with a gunshot wound to the left temple. "All the warning signs were there."
Jim Lucas, 47, said he had sensed for months that his son was seriously contemplating suicide.
"Adrian was profoundly depressed and had lost all self-confidence and self-esteem," he told reporters. "He was convinced that nobody in the world loved him at all, or even cared if he lived or died. He'd frequently call himself names like 'shithead' and 'worthless,' and he was always telling us how we'd be better off without him. It was a textbook case."
Roberta Lucas agreed. "He was constantly saying things like, 'I guess that was my last time at the mall,' and, 'Pretty soon, you guys won't ever have to worry about my room being messy again,'" she said. "You'd have to be braindead not to notice."
A Glendale High School honor student who actively participated in a wide range of extracurricular activities, Adrian had, according to his parents, lost interest in school in the months leading up to his death, frequently failing to show up for class and quitting the track team. Normally an "A" student, the teenager stopped doing his homework and began failing tests. He also quit his part-time job at the local hardware store.
"That's not like him at all," Roberta said. "And, on top of everything else, he wasn't sleeping or eating. You could just tell he was going to kill himself."
According to Jim Lucas, in the weeks leading up to Adrian's suicide, the teen grew increasingly despondent and self-destructive. "He kept scratching himself back and forth on his wrists, saying, 'This way to the hospital, this way to the morgue,'" he said. "At least once a day, he'd mention that slitting your wrists in a warm bathtub is supposed to feel just like going to sleep. Those last few days, I heard it from him so many times, I practically wanted to slit my own wrists."
Like his parents, Adrian's friends were not stunned by his suicide. "He gave me all his CDs, and he said I could have his stereo, too, if I wanted it," said Justin Scola, 16, who had been friends with Adrian since the first grade. "It doesn't take a psychologist to figure out what the deal was there."
Pete Ziegler, 16, whom Adrian gave a $350 Prince tennis racket, a Panasonic four-head VCR and 11 Sony Playstation games, said it was "only a matter of time" before his friend committed suicide.
"You just knew it was coming," Ziegler said. "I was pretty broken up about it in some ways, but, on the other hand, I was seriously psyched about all the awesome shit he gave me."
Roberta Lucas summed up the feelings of all who knew her son.
"We loved Adrian, but we've got to move on with our lives," she said. "He's gone, and there's nothing we can do to change that."