WESTON (WAOW) – A teenager who carried a gun into a convenience and asked workers to call police was seeking attention about troubles in his life and fortunately never raised the barrel of the gun as officers surrounded the building, an investigator said Tuesday.
“That is how he thought he would get attention, by walking into a store with a loaded gun,” Everest Metro Police Capt. Clay Schulz said.
“He wanted to talk to police and this was his way to get police there fast, according to him. Boy, it is scary to think what could have happened if he had brought that barrel of the gun up in front of police,” Schulz said.
The July 16 incident about 2 a.m. at Kwik Trip ended peacefully when the teen followed police instructions by putting the gun down and walking outside, Schulz said.
No one was hurt and no one was threatened, investigators said.
In recent months, there have been several high-profile shootings of people by troubled gunmen at public places like restaurants, churches, schools and movie theaters across the United States.
The 17-year-old boy in Weston told investigators that he was not happy with his “home arrangements” involving separated parents, Schulz said. He also mentioned not having much food at home and suffering a troubled childhood along with other siblings.
“We have had contact with his family,” Schulz said. “We were called to that residence several times for issues in the home.”
With a gun he took from a friend's home, the teen told investigators he “thought that he was going to commit suicide. Then he thought about going to a store to shoot some fruit. Then he decided he wanted the police to shoot him,” Schulz said.
The investigator added, “One of his statements was, 'Guns make people listen.'”
The teenager was taken into custody and an evaluation by the crisis team of North Central Health Care Center was performed at the jail, Schulz said.
The teen is no longer in custody, Schulz said. No criminal charges had been filed as of Tuesday, he said.
“This could have gone bad in a number of ways,” the investigator said. “Suicide by cop is something we were aware of and have had happen.”
It's unclear why the boy just didn't call police and ask for some help, Schulz said.
“It seems like we are seeing more people who are having more issues,” the investigator said. “He made comments, 'It was the only way to get things done.'”