Shocking new details about the gunman who shot up Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were released on Sunday, and it was revealed that officials from the school and a sheriff’s deputy recommended that he be forcibly committed to a psychiatric facility just months before his rampage.
Despite clear warning signs and a recommendation for involuntary commitment, nothing was ever done.
School resource officer Scot Peterson and other school officials recommended in September 2016 that the gunman be committed for mental evaluation under Florida’s Baker Act. The Associated Press reports:
The documents, which are part of [the gunman]’s criminal case in the shooting, show that he had written the word “kill” in a notebook, told a classmate that he wanted to buy a gun and use it, and had cut his arm supposedly in anger because he had broken up with a girlfriend. He also told another student he had drunk gasoline and was throwing up. Calls had even been made to the FBI about the possibility of [the gunman] using a gun at school…
…[the gunman]’s mother Lynda is quoted as saying she had fresh concerns about her son’s mental state after he punched holes in a wall at their home in Parkland. The clinicians at Henderson came to the home for interviews and said [the gunman] admitted punching the wall but said he did so because he was upset at a breakup with his girlfriend…
…the documents say [the gunman] “reports that he cut his arms 3-4 weeks ago and states that this is the only time he has ever cut. [the gunman] states that he cut because he was lonely, states that he had broken up with his girlfriend and reports that his grades had fallen.
Former federal prosecutor David S. Weinstein told the AP that if the gunman had been institutionalized against his will that it would have been a major red flag if he ever would have tried to purchase a firearm.
“If he had lied, hopefully, the verification of the form would have pulled up the commitment paperwork,” Weinstein said.
The documents obtained by the AP show that the gunman was very much on the radar of mental health professionals and law enforcement officials, yet little to nothing was done. The AP further notes that it is unclear why the recommendation to institutionalize the gunman was never followed up.