Mom of WJHS student discusses weapons found in son’s room

After finding loaded guns and explosives in son’s room, mom called police

A WJHS student was taken into police custody on Sept. 16 after he was found in possession of potential explosive materials and firearms. The student may be receiving charges, according to the Wilmette police.

A police report stated that the mother of the student found two handguns, a shotgun, and explosive matter in the boy’s room, prompting her to call local authorities.

Before students arrived to school on Sept. 17, the Cook County Bomb Unit rigorously checked the school, concluding that there were no potential dangers to students or staff.

The firearm was confirmed to belong to the student’s maternal grandfather. The student obtained the weapon by opening a locked safe.

More information regarding the student and incident is stated below in an exclusive interview with the child’s mother.

How was his school life?

His school life was okay. He’s got some really good friends and he got along with people most of the time.


Did he have a lot of friends? What activities or sports was he part of?

He had a fair amount of friends. A couple of besties. They’re still checking on him. He did Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, he skateboarded for a while. Typical kid stuff, nothing out of the ordinary.



What is his personality like?

He is very much a leader. He looks a lot older than he is, even though he’s thirteen. He looks like he could be in high school, since his father and I are very tall. Kids looked up to him.



Did you detect any behavior that was suspicious?

No. He’s definitely mechanically-inclined. He likes to take things apart and put them back together. He could be an engineer in the future. His father and I are divorced, so when he’d spend time with his father, his parents had a place in southern Illinois. He’d go down there and shoot BB guns and do archery. I think, with kids in the North Shore, a lot of them can’t relate to [his interests]. I think he’s been misunderstood. He’s an incredibly intelligent young guy, very intuitive, and a great sense of humor. He loves his brother very much, who is in college in Colorado. He loves his father, his step-father, and he loves me. I miss him a lot.



What was your initial reaction?

Shocked, as any mother would be. He’s always had interest in the military and we’d go to army stores. He really likes science, and he has some memorabilia of army items, nothing weapon-wise, or anything like that. I knew he was interested and I told him that when he gets older, if that’s what he wants to do, he could be a police officer or go into the military. I told him he’s too young for that now.



Do you know how your son obtained the weapons?

The weapons he acquired were in a locked gun safe that belonged to his grandfather. We were going to sell them, and in hindsight, we should have done it a while ago.



Do you know what his intentions were?

I think he thinks he’s older than he is and the internet is a very powerful place and you can look up and inquire anything you want with a couple of clicks. We talked to some people and were able to find some of the things he was looking up. It was very easy for him to find out how to cut into a safe, it was right out there on the internet. So, I guess where there is a will there is a way. But I will say that he did not have any malicious intentions. He was never ever going to do anything to hurt himself or anybody else. By his account, all he wanted to do was clean them. I think he looked at them as toys and didn’t understand the gravity of what he was doing.



Is he actively receiving treatment?

Yes. He will not be back for any part of eighth grade. He’ll go to high school. But I don’t know if that will be here.



Is there anything else you’d like the public to know about your child that is not already known?

I told him I was going to [interview] with you guys and asked him if there was anything he wanted me to say. He said to just let [everyone] know that things aren’t as they seem. He said there’s more to it. People think the worst. There is still an ongoing investigation, they still have his phone and things they took out of the house. If you look at it from an outsider’s view, it doesn’t look good. But, he’s just a curious child. He needs to find other hobbies.
He didn’t realize what he was doing was dangerous, that’s why he’s receiving treatment. He’s a good kid. I understand it though, if it was a different family, I’d be freaked out and would want to know what was going on and why, and if it was a threat to the community or the school.
I knew when I found when I found that I had to call the police, there was no other choice. I would hope that any other parent would do the same thing. It sucked. There are some people in our family that aren’t happy with me, that I should have made a different choice. But, it was obvious to me, that if it was taken this far, he needed help.

He knows he made a mistake and wishes he could take it back. He’s more freaked out that he scared people. He didn’t intend to do that. Even when I called the police, he asked ‘why are you calling the police?’ I told him it wasn’t right and he said ‘Mom, I wasn’t going to do anything to hurt anybody.’ I said, ‘I know, I know. But still this is extreme.’ I know people that own guns don’t put their guns in the bed with them. They’re meant to be left in a safe.
Regardless, [my son] is a good boy.