Mother of attempted school shooter, 14, charged with 6 felonies: 'I tried everything I could'

The mother of a 14-year-old boy who shot his way into an Indiana middle school is now facing six felony charges related to her son's actions.

Mary York, 43, called police last December to warn them that her son was planning to attack David W. Dennis Intermediate School — just minutes before the teen fired a gun into the building and squared off with police, a confrontation that ended in him taking his own life.

Thanks to York's call, officers were able to beat the 14-year-old to the school, preventing any other individuals from being harmed during the incident. Police said in April that the mother's call "very likely" saved people's lives.

But now York has been charged with six felonies related to the incident — including several neglect charges — as well as one charge of criminal recklessness, a misdemeanor.

According to the Richmond Palladium-Item, prosecutors claim that the mother prematurely removed her son from a mental health facility, took him off prescription medications and failed to report that he had previously fired a handgun inside the family's home.

"I tried everything I could to stop him," York told WXIN-TV last Monday.

York told WISH-TV in April that she had pulled her son out of Dennis Intermediate School due to bullying he faced in the seventh grade.

"He had things thrown at him, he had these kids say, 'Go kill yourself,'" York told the station. "I didn't know how depressed he was, I just didn't know how much anxiety he had over this bullying, he just couldn't get over it. These kids hurt him."

Her son was then admitted to a mental health facility, which York said released him months before the shooting, saying that "nothing was wrong" with him. The mother contested the other charges against her as well, claiming she had taken her son off his prescribed medicine because it made him feel strange and that the gun he had fired in the house was always kept locked inside a cabinet.

Court documents indicate, however, that York's son had numerous mental health issues that required greater attention. The 14-year-old reportedly heard voices, hallucinated at times and expressed homicidal thoughts against classmates who had bullied him.

Prosecutors say those factors contributed to the teen's actions on Dec. 13, 2018, when he broke into his family's gun cabinet, took his mother's boyfriend hostage and forced the man to drive him toward his former school. The 14-year-old was reportedly armed with a rifle, a pistol, ammunition, two bottles filled with gasoline, rags for Molotov cocktails and a handwritten plan of action.

That's when York received a call from her boyfriend, telling her of the teenager's plan. She immediately called 911, an action she described as a "gut-wrenching decision."

"We are very, very grateful to that person who made that call," Indiana State Police Capt. David Bursten said at a press conference following the attempted shooting. "Had they not made that call, there is no doubt in my mind that we would be having a much different conversation here right now."

In April, York shared texts from members of the community, calling her a hero and thanking her for making the call. The 43-year-old, whose trial is scheduled for Jan. 13, 2020, contends that she should not be the person to blame for her son's actions.

"I can't ever see him again now," Ms. York told WISH-TV. "I just feel like everything was not done right. I feel like there are so many people that failed him."