CRIME

Perry Hall High School shooting: Robert Gladden Jr. charged as adult

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Perry Hall High School shooting photos: One injured on first day of school

Perry Hall High School shooting photos: One injured on first day of school 17 Photos
Perry Hall High School shooting photos: One injured on first day of school

The 15-year-old student who allegedly shot a peer on the first day of classes at Perry Hall High School has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, officials say.

Students at Perry Hall High School will head back to class Tuesday, a day after Robert Wayne Gladden, Jr. allegedly opened fire on the campus, critically injuring a fellow student.

Gladden, a Baltimore resident, is being held without bond at the Baltimore County Detention Center. He was also charged with first-degree assault.

As of Monday night, the 17-year-old student who was shot remained in critical condition, Baltimore Shock Trauma officials say.

Authorities say Gladden brought to school a shotgun that had been taken apart into pieces, 21 rounds of ammunition and a bottle of vodka in his backpack

Authorities say the sophomore student went to his first two classes and then as he was heading to lunch he placed that backpack with the gun inside in a bathroom adjacent to the cafeteria where the shooting happened.

Police say there was an incident in the cafeteria. Gladden left and went back to the bathroom, assembled the gun and then came back into the cafeteria with the gun under his shirt.

As he started to pull the gun from his shirt the counselor noticed and tried to subdue him.

Police say Gladden is undergoing a mental evaluation

Police say the suspect got the gun from his father's home. His father hasn't been charged with a crime.

As a result of search of the suspect’s mother’s home, Gladden’s stepfather was arrested and is facing charges of illegal possession of firearms and possession of marijuana.

Father: Son was bullied on campus

Gladden's father says that his son, who stands accused of the shooting, was bullied.

The father spoke to a reporter at his home Monday evening and said his son was the shooter.

A woman who was also at the home and said she was related to the father, gave the following statement on the family's behalf: "We are horrified. We did not see this coming and our thoughts and prayers are with the victim and the victim's family." 

When asked about a motive for the shooting, the father indicated his son had been bullied. He gave no further details. 

Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson said at a news conference Monday afternoon that officers believed the shooter, who was also a student at Perry Hall High School, fired at random and struck the victim.

Numerous witnesses say the shooter was in early lunch at 10:20 a.m. when suddenly he went to the bathroom and returned with a shotgun barely hidden under his shirt.

"Immediately, instructors responded seeing this, and as they responded, he fired one round striking another student," Johnson said.

At the sound of the first shot, all eyes were on the violent struggle for the gun.

Perry High School Student Clay Wornom said, "Everyone was like looking around and then I see people ducking and running and then the second shot was fired. The shooter was just shooting up to get the teachers away by shooting."

Two students who spoke with WBAL-TV described hearing a popping sound in the cafeteria and initially thinking someone was playing a prank. The students described some people running from the cafeteria, while others ducked under tables.

A hospital spokeswoman says the teen who was shot is in critical condition. Several others suffered minor, non-bullet-related injuries.

WJZ-TV video images show a shirtless male with his hands behind his back being put into a police cruiser. Monday was the first day of school at Perry Hall, which is located in the 4600 block of Ebenezer Road.

According to ABC 2 in Baltimore, the school immediately went into lockdown after shots were fired. Students were then escorted to a nearby shopping center and middle school.

Perry Hall is a middle-class community along the Interstate 95 corridor, northeast of Baltimore city. The school is the largest in the county, with 2,200 students.

In a statement, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley called the shooting a "senseless act of violence."

"I'd like to thank the teachers and administrators for their courageous and life-saving actions," O'Malley said. "It takes all of us working together to make our schools safer for our children."

County Councilman David Marks, who lives next door to the school, said he had received dozens of phone calls and text messages from worried parents and residents.

"This is a very comfortable, very safe community, and it's an excellent high school," said Marks, who graduated from Perry Hall. "I think this is an aberration, but clearly one that is horrifying, particularly on the first day of school."

The shooting has left an entire student body shaken to the core.

"It's crazy what people will do these days...," student Shawn Michael said.

School will be in session Tuesday. Elise Armacost, the director of Media and Communications for Baltimore County Public Safety, said police will have a visible presence at the school.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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