Reporting Mike Hellgren
PERRY HALL, Md. (WJZ) — Inside the mind of the Perry Hall shooter. WJZ was first to show you video of his confession to police.
Mike Hellgren takes a closer look, as a community seeks answers as to how this could happen.
Fifteen-year-old Robert Gladden Jr. calmly showed detectives how he pulled the gun from his waist before opening fire in the Perry Hall High School cafeteria on the first day of the school year.
His lawyer says the teenager was desperately in need of psychiatric help after struggling for years with demons–something Gladden admitted in a rambling interview with police.
“The first time I thought about killing myself, I was in fourth grade but I was so young, I figured I’d wait,” Gladden said.
He took 21 shells with him to school that day, because “Figured if I’m going to do it, I might as well kill a lot.”
Psychologist James Basinger looked at part of the video.
“It’s empty lives. It’s empty feelings inside of them, and anger, of course. There are strong feelings of anger, unexpressed anger,” he said.
WEB EXTRA: Watch Robert Gladden’s unedited confession tape. Warning: these clips contain explicit language.
On Facebook, Gladden warned this would be the last day of his life and expressed admiration for the Columbine shooters.
Prosecutors say Gladden wrote letters to Charles Manson and said he wished he went to Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.
“This stuff sits and smolders inside of folks when they’re bullied as young people. It builds and builds and builds and then it explodes,” Basinger said.
In the tape, Gladden said he wanted the death penalty, “So I could just die.”
Gladden will get treatment while serving a 35-year sentence.
“As long as there’s life, I think there’s hope. In some form or shape, there’s some form of hope in that respect,” Basinger said.
The victim, Daniel Borowy, survived. His mother calls the school to check on him every day.
Gladden’s lawyer says he’s now showing remorse and is taking medication.