Robert Gladden, Jr. wanted 'suicide by cop'

TOWSON, Md. - The shooting at Perry Hall High School prompted a full-scale evacuation and nearly cost 17-year old Daniel Borowy his life.

Some suggested that bullying had driven the alleged gunman, 15-year old Robert Gladden, Jr., to bring the shotgun to school, but his attorneys now say the teen didn't mean to harm anyone except himself.

IN-DEPTH | Coverage of the Perry Hall High School shooting

"I think he expected to be killed, and I think he desired to be killed.  Yes.  As sad as that is, I think that's the reality of this case," said Attorney Clarke Ahlers, "Recall that he sent a text message to the effect that this is his first day of school and the last day of his life and his conduct certainly invited the armed police officer present to shoot and kill him."

Gladden entered the courtroom with shackles on his ankles, dressed fully in black with his long hair concealing much of his face.

He never spoke a word during the proceeding.

But his attorneys claim he has shown remorse for both his victim and for his actions on that day.

"This child asked about the wellbeing of the child that was injured.  We told him.  He expressed relief.  He said that someday he would like to meet the child or his parents and express his regret for his behavior.  Now, frankly, you're hearing my words and not the child's.  That's what he communicated to us," said Ahlers.

Gladden's attorneys have asked the judge to transfer his case to juvenile court, arguing at 15 years old, he acted as a child and does not warrant an adult's punishment.

"There were apparently two shots.  I'm not sure he appreciates the sequence or exactly what caused the weapon to fire.  Now I'm not suggesting for a moment that somebody else forced him to pull the trigger or anything like that.  I think that he was in a state of extreme anxiety and his recall of the incident is far from perfect."

Of course, the "suicide by cop" defense begs questions like why Gladden brought 21 16-gauge shells with him to the school and why he made sure the shotgun was loaded before entering the cafeteria.   

Print this article Back to Top