The 15-year-old sophomore who shot a fellow student at Perry Hall High School in Baltimore on Monday came to school with a shotgun, ammunition and a bottle of vodka, officials say. Robert Wayne Gladden Jr. will be charged with first-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault, and will be tried as an adult. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 7th.
Gladden updated his Facebook status yesterday morning, before the shooting, with the message, "First day of school, last day of my life. ... f&*% the world." Gladden rode the school bus on Monday with a bag that contained the disassembled shotgun, 21 rounds of ammo for it, and a bottle of vodka. After arriving at school and attending a couple of classes, Gladden assembled the shotgun in the bathroom, and then hid it in his clothes before walking into the cafeteria and firing at a table. The question is, how was he able to get all of these items, which are presumably not allowed, into school in the first place?
A 17-year-old student, Daniel Borowy was hit in the back by the shotgun blast, and remains in critical condition today. A group of teachers rushed the shooter, and in the chaos another shot was fired into the ceiling. Guidance Counselor Jesse Wasmer was the faculty member who wrestled the gun away from Gladden. Thank goodness for the quick thinking of the faculty. Had they had the normal human response of being frozen in a crisis, things could have been much worse. Although investigators did say that Gladden drank vodka before the shooting, there was indication that he was intoxicated.
The suspect's father, Robert Gladden, told the AP that his son was being bullied at school. However, police investigators that spoke to the younger Gladden said that the bullying was not the cause of the shooting, and would not speculate on a further motive. According to Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson, the suspect is cooperating with detectives and has agreed to a mental health examination. Although it is likely that the father is telling the truth about the bullying, it is no excuse for violence, and especially against a student who probably wasn't one of those who bullied Gladden.
A phone call to Perry Hall High School confirmed that classes were back in session today.