After finding a journal with detailed plans for a mass shooting at her son's school, Nicole reported him to the police.
A mother, only identified by the name Nicole, discovered her son's journal in his bedroom by happenstance one day. After flipping through it, she found rather disturbing details about a mass shooting her son was planning. The 17-year-old boy had plotted to carry out the attack on his school, College Place High School, on April 20, 2020, the anniversary of the tragic 1999 Columbine High School attack. Shortly after finding the journal, she swiftly reported her son to the police, who immediately searched his bedroom. Police officials discovered several other pieces of literature to support the attack, KNDO reports.
Though it was a difficult decision to make, CPPD Chief Troy Tomaras appreciated Nicole's courage and ability to take action. He stated, "The mother was very emotional and loves her son. This was not an easy thing to do, but it was the right thing to do. The mother wanted to prevent others from being hurt, and wants her son to get the help he needs." Police officials arrested the teenager after he returned home from school and transferred him to the Walla Walla Juvenile Justice Center for Felony Harassment and Threats to bomb or injure property. The investigation, however, is ongoing.
The mother revealed what it was like to confront her son about the journal entries in a heartbreaking interview with CBS Evening News. At first, she shared, he told her that it was a creative writing exercise for school, nonchalantly passing it off as "just a story." However, Nicole recognized that he may need help with his concerning mental health issues. She stated, "I know a lot of people that go to College Place High School. Their lives would have been forever changed. It’s devastating. I know I did all I can do and that I made the right choice. I’m worried about his mental health and he needs help... Truth hurts sometimes."
Since reporting her son, Nicole was referred to as a "hero" — but she is still second-guessing herself. "[I feel] like I've done something wrong," she said. Nonetheless, despite her guilt, she understands that the students at her son's school are safer with her son in prison. Comments have poured in from across the world, some praising the mother's bravery and others questioning why her son was in prison. A certain J.C Holmes wrote in the comments section on the video of her interview. He wrote, "Why exactly is the kid in jail though? Shouldn't they have him in a hospital getting evaluated and some mental help? I want to follow up on this, because though if what they say is true, they are not actively attending to mental health, and this speaks volumes as [to] how they plan to deal with it. The kid, even though he wrote it down, still did not commit a crime of any kind, and he is a minor, and their answer to a child that needs help with mental status, is to stick him in a jail cell." As Holmes points out, there is a severe issue with how we deal with mental health in the United States. While Capitol Hill, other lawmakers, and activists fight for common-sense gun reform, it is also important to treat mental illness with empathy and effective medically-evaluated solutions under federal and state law.