by Dan Lucas
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s office recently released their 926-page police report on the shooting last December at the Clackamas Town Center. It is heart-wrenching to read.
Police were able to extract portions of documents from the killer’s computer. His writing reveals a very real human, hurting from a broken family and exposure to and experience with drug and alcohol abuse. A toxicology report showed that the killer had used cocaine and marijuana prior to the shooting.
The killer’s mother died before he was 3 years old. He writes of his mother “My mother was very private and withheld when it came to expressing anger so I was pretty much [taught] to bottle up my feelings. My grandmother was the same, growing up during the depression she was very head strong and felt that expressing anger with time[s] so good now was unacceptable. Even with people walking all over her my mother never expressed to them her feelings, she bottled up everything and I do believe [that] was not the cause of her death but contributed towards it greatly.”
Continuing on about bottling up anger, the killer wrote “I was around her [his grandmother, or aunt?] for seventeen years and lived almost all of them dealing with my anger towards my friends like she did, but lashed out at the people that I did not know or want to know. I would express my anger towards classmates and authorit[y] figures growing up [as] a tool to frighten people. I never wanted anyone to feel sympathy for me in elementary school, I wanted them to fear me because I felt rejected and could not express that.”
The writing also reveals what sounds like a very toxic relationship with the aunt who raised him, the aunt who the family called “mom”.
He writes that his aunt, “mom”, used to take him to Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings when he was very young, but then “when I was getting older she started smoking pot,” and she encouraged him to “smoke pot” with her when he was a teenager. “I was sixteen when I started smoking with my mom. She packed the bowl and told me to take the first hit… I took a hit and went to pass it and she told me not to. She said ‘if [you’re] going to act like a stoner [you’re] going smoke like a stoner. [You’re] going to smoke that whole bowl to yourself.’ And to be honest with you I did – I smoked the whole thing. Afterwards she tells me that I had to clean the bathroom for my punishment. But after that it was a daily thing. I would come home and smoke with my mom, go hang out with friends, come home and smoke with my mom.”
He wrote “It sometimes made me wonder how my life would have turned out if she didn’t smoke pot.”
And finally, before the shooting at the Clackamas mall, the killer wrote “But my life is not the same. My mom is not in my life anymore. I do not consider her to be my mom and I do not consider myself to be her son. My timeline ends here, about a few days ago. I got a phone call from my mom, and I haven’t talked to her in at least a year. And she calls me up out of the blue asking me if I would like to come over and drink with her. I told her that I do not drink and I didn’t know why she was either. She tells me that she said that there was nothing for her to do then to make me come over so she says that the next step is suicide. I guess that will make you come over here won’t it Jake, she says. What do you say to that? What do you say to your mother telling you that she is going to kill herself and is giving you the destination of where her body can be found. And how I better start thinking of what to do with her things because she isn’t going to need it where she is going. What do you say to that? Why would she put that much pressure on me when we haven’t spoken in so long? Is it my fault that she is doing this? I can’t have the conscience of her death on my shoulders. I was doing good. Since I haven’t talked to her I have started college, I wasn’t even thinking about coming to college. She never put that in my head. And I’m rising up, coming out of my shell, starting my life as you could say. And she is going to tell me this. How do I react. What do I do?”
Based on his writing, the killer may not be the only monster in the picture, but he was a monster nonetheless. What made him a monster were his choices. Lots of people have awful, painful life experiences, but they don’t assume that gives them the right to go inflict horrific pain on others. Others who had nothing to do with the pain the killer experienced in his life. The killer was a monster because he chose to steal a rifle from a friend, to put on a hockey mask and go someplace where people were Christmas shopping and inflict horrific pain on them – including murdering Steven Forsyth and Cindy Ann Yuille.