Police: Bullying Not A Factor In Perry Hall High Shooting
Police revealed new details in the Monday morning shooting at Perry Hall High School.
UPDATE (1:20 p.m., Aug. 28)—Investigators do not believe bullying was a factor in the Monday morning shooting at Perry Hall High School, according to police.
Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson, speaking at a news conference in Dundalk late Tuesday morning, dispelled rumors that bullying allegedly led Robert Gladden Jr., 15, to open fire on his classmates in the school cafeteria.
"We are aware of many reports that the suspect was a victim of bullying. We cannot confirm those reports. Gladden's conversations with investigators have not indicated bullying was an issue in this case. The investigation is ongoing," Johnson said.
Johnson told reporters that Gladden was cooperating with investigators.
Officials used the conference to reveal a detailed account of the shooting, as well as information about Gladden's family members. County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Superintendent S. Dallas Dance also answered questions from reporters.
The police chief explained that although there was an incident in the cafeteria before the shooting, where an object—either food or paper—was thrown toward a table where Gladden sat, police do not believe that incident set off the shooting. The students involved had also already left the cafeteria when the shooting began.
Find copies of Gladden's booking photo and charging documents attached to this article.
Johnson said that Gladden arrived at the school on a bus and brought with him a backpack containing a broken down shotgun that could be reassembled. The backpack also carried a bottle of vodka.
Gladden obtained the shotgun, an early-model Westfield double-barrel of legal length, from the home of his father in the Hawthorne neighborhood in Middle River, according to police. No charges have been filed at this time, related to Gladden's access to the shotgun, Johnson said.
While investigators have learned that Gladden, a returning sophomore, was able to have several sips of alcohol leading up to the shooting, they do not believe that he was impaired or intoxicated.
Gladden began his first day of the new school year normally, attending his first and second period classes and heading to lunch during third period, around 10:30 in the morning. Before entering the cafeteria, Gladden stashed a bag containing the shotgun in a nearby bathroom.
Police emphasized that the actions of fellow students in the cafeteria, including reports of something being thrown in Gladden's direction, did not directly lead to the shooting.
In fact, Johnson said, after speaking with Gladden, investigators do not believe that bullying was a factor leading up to the shooting at all.
Around 10:45 a.m., Johnson said that Gladden went to the bathroom, reassembled the approximately 34-inch weapon and concealed it inside his clothes.
He walked back into the cafeteria and drew the weapon, police said. Perry Hall guidance counselor Jesse Wasmer then rushed toward him, but before Wasmer could subdue him, Gladden fired one round, striking 17-year-old Daniel Borowy, Johnson said.
Other Perry Hall staffers then assisted Wasmer, but Gladden was able to fire another shot, which did not strike anyone, Johnson said. A School Resource Officer then arrested Gladden.
Following Gladden's arrest, police searched the Kingsville home of the boy's mother and arrested his stepfather. Andrew E. Piper of the 8500 block of Bradshaw Road in Kingsville was charged with marijuana possession and illegal firearm possession. He is currently free on $500,000 bail. A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Dec. 3.
Following the press conference, police released the charging documents and Robert Gladden's booking photo to the media.