A Texas father helped police thwart a potential mass shooting after he flagged his son’s erratic behavior and violent pronouncements of wanting to “kill many people,” Fort Worth police said.
The father called 911 on Sept. 3 and alerted authorities to his 27-year-old son’s troubling behavior, a department spokesman told the Fort Worth Star-Telegraph. His son was off his medication, the father said, and had expressed a desire to buy guns and go on a shooting rampage.
The dad’s call prompted police to track down the man, who the Star-Telegraph reported was “well known” to local authorities. By then, he had already visited multiple businesses in an attempt to buy a gun, police said. He was repeatedly turned away, however, after failing background checks for reasons that are unclear.
Police said the man, carrying more than $600, had been trying to buy a gun on the street when they confronted him.
When asked why he was seeking to buy a firearm, “he was just very flat and blunt — to kill people,” said Officer Landon Rollins, a member of a Crisis Intervention Team that confronted the man, according to the Star-Telegraph.
“He said, just, ‘I want to kill people.’ He reiterated this many times,” Rollins added. “He was … not living in reality.”
According to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth, the man was later diagnosed with several mental health issues. As of Monday, he was reportedly at a clinic receiving treatment. Police didn’t release the names of the father or the son.
Police praised the father for his courage to contact authorities.
“He was extraordinarily worried and he feared a mass casualty incident,” Rollins said, per NBC-DFW. “That takes so much courage to be able to do that on your own family and to reach out to law enforcement for that.”
A Fort Worth police spokesman said the man had apparently been inspired by the gunman who went on a deadly shooting spree in the Texas cities of Midland and Odessa last month.
“He wanted to do something that was very similar that took place in the Midland-Odessa area and he basically wanted to mimic that,” officer Buddy Calzada said.
The country has grappled with a slew of mass shootings in recent weeks. Earlier in August, 22 people were killed at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas; less than 24 hours later, a gunman massacred nine people outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio.
The Republican-led Senate has been facing increasing pressure from Democrats and others to take action on two gun background check bills in the wake of these shootings, including one that would close loopholes allowing private or online sales of guns and sales at gun shows without criminal background checks.
In Texas, background checks aren’t required when guns are sold privately.
Betsy Price, the Republican mayor of Fort Worth, is among the more than 200 mayors who have urged the Senate and the Trump administration to move on the legislation.
“Background checks are nonpartisan and should be a no-brainer,” Price told NBC-DFW this week
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