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Records show troubled life for accused Md. shooter
TOWSON, Md. (AP) – The teenager accused of shooting an intellectually disabled classmate at a suburban Maryland high school was accustomed to firearms in the home and had endured his parents’ contentious divorce, court documents show.
After 15-year-old Robert Wayne Gladden Jr. was taken into custody Monday, police executed a search warrant at the Kingsville home where he lives with his mother and stepfather. What they found, according to court documents: 11 guns, including shotguns, rifles, a 9mm handgun and two antique pistols.
Police also found a spent rifle casing in the Gladden youth’s bedroom and collected “miscellaneous live ammunition” from the master bedroom where most of the guns were found. Police also recovered marijuana.
The Gladden youth was awaiting a bail review hearing Wednesday afternoon, and prosecutors planned to argue that he should continue to be held without bail. He underwent a psychiatric evaluation on Tuesday. His attorney said the pale, long-haired teenager had been bullied and that he did not intend to shoot anyone.
Court documents indicate the teen had a troubled home life. His parents were involved contentious divorce proceedings that stretched over four years and included custody disputes. Documents show his father was behind more than $8,400 on his child support payments.
The teen’s 41-year-old father, Robert W. Gladden, also has a history of trouble with the law. In 2010, the Gladden youth answered the door when police executed a search warrant at his father’s home, looking for drugs and guns, documents show. Police seized a 12-gauge shotgun during that search along with marijuana, and prosecutors later sought the forfeiture of the shotgun and a .45-caliber handgun.
Meanwhile, his stepfather, 43-year-old Andrew Piper, faces new charges of illegal gun possession and drug possession stemming from Monday’s search. Mr. Piper was prohibited from possessing firearms because of a previous conviction for grand theft, documents show.
According to police and court documents, the Gladden youth brought a disassembled shotgun, 21 rounds of ammunition and a bottle of vodka with him for the first day of school Monday morning. On his Facebook page, he wrote, “First day of school, last day of my life.”
The double-barreled shotgun was an antique and was taken from his father’s house, police said.
Police said he assembled the shotgun in a restroom and walked into the cafeteria, where he pointed the gun at a nearby table and opened fire. Daniel Borowy, a 17-year-old student who classmates say has Down syndrome, was wounded in the back. He was in critical condition Tuesday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, and a hospital spokeswoman did not immediately return a message Wednesday seeking an update.
The Gladden youth’s attorney, George Psoras, challenged the narrative provided by police, saying that the teen fired his initial gunshot into the floor. He said the shot that wounded the Borowy youth was inadvertent and occurred after school staff rushed the teen and tried to get the gun away from him.
Police and witnesses credited guidance counselor Jesse Wasmer with disarming the Gladden youth and preventing further violence.
Mr. Psoras told The Associated Press that his client brought the gun to school to intimidate bullies but had no plans to shoot anyone.
“The stereotype right now is that we have a Columbine,” Mr. Psoras said. “It’s simply not the case. This is a typical teenager who was just starting this school year. He was being bullied, and the bullying has to stop.”
The Gladden youth’s classmates said he appeared troubled and withdrawn. The three photos of him on his Facebook page, where he makes references to murder-suicide and mass murderer Charles Manson, show his face hidden behind his long hair.
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