In the minutes before he was killed, Dave Boss was doing what he did best: acting kindly toward a friend, his father, Rick Boss, said Monday.
Police have told Rick Boss that it appears his son was opening a cupboard to make tea or cocoa for childhood friend John Delling. Instead, police say, Delling fired two bullets into the back of Boss' head March 31 in his Moscow apartment.
Moscow police have since charged Delling, 21, a former Timberline High School classmate, with first-degree murder.
Dave Boss, a senior at the University of Idaho, had remained friendly with Delling while others distanced themselves from what many described as an increasingly disturbed young man.
The two reportedly talked for 15 minutes before Delling showed up at Boss' Moscow apartment that day, police and Rick Boss said.
"Dave was being a friend, and he was being a friend to someone who was becoming hard to be a friend to," Rick Boss said in his first public interview.
A service for Boss Saturday drew friends from all over the country, who shared stories about him and described him as a polite, intelligent young man with a good sense of humor, Boss' family said.
"It's incredible when you do go through that to see that love and support," Boss' stepmother, Debbie Boss, said.
Delling is in the Washoe (Nev.) County Jail awaiting extradition to Idaho. In addition to the Moscow homicide, Delling is the prime suspect in the slaying of Bradley Morse, 25, whose body was found April 3 in a pond east of Boise, and the shooting of Jacob J. Thompson, 23, on March 20 in Tucson, Ariz., where Thompson lives.
Rick Boss said he knew of no past incident that would lead his son to be the focus of Delling's apparent obsession. According to court documents, Delling told his brother he worried that Dave Boss was "stealing my powers."
"It just doesn't make sense," Rick Boss said.
In high school, Boss' passion was lacrosse, and he helped lift the Timberline team to a state championship his senior year, his father said. He was slight of build and not the fastest runner but put in lots of extra work to compete in the physical, contact sport.
A history major at U of I, he liked international soccer — what he called "real football" — and had his own heavy metal radio show on the University of Idaho's campus radio station. Rick Boss said his son was a shy, quiet child who at a young age had to grapple with losing his mother to cancer. In fact, Boss said, Dave Boss had just started to find his comfort zone in college.
"He was just really starting to come into his own," he said.
Particularly touching was a meeting with Dave Boss' professors, who gushed to Rick Boss about his son.
"I remember my college days when I was a good student, but nobody would have recognized me or picked me out of a crowd," Rick Boss said.
Rick Boss has been shuttling back and forth between his Boise home and Moscow for the past 10 days. Police are still treating his son's apartment as a crime scene, and Rick Boss said he hasn't been able to go inside. He said the hectic pace has kept the full reality of the crime from sinking in. "You just realize, ‘Oh, gosh, he's not going to come back this summer, play golf and do all these things you were thinking of doing,'" he said.
During spring break, shortly before Dave Boss was killed, he came home, playing one last round of golf with his father, going to church and hanging out with his family, Rick Boss said.
"It was a nice blessing from God to have as nice of a time as we did," he said.
Contact reporter Heath Druzin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 373-6617.