Published November 20, 2014
A 15-year-old high school sophomore was indicted Tuesday on 29 counts related to the shooting of a classmate at a suburban Baltimore school, and the charging document alleges that the teen intended to kill eight other people.
A Baltimore County grand jury indicted Robert Wayne Gladden Jr., on nine counts of attempted murder, nine counts of first-degree assault and nine counts of reckless endangerment, along with two gun charges.
According to police, Gladden brought an antique shotgun to Perry Hall High School last Monday on the first day of classes and fired two shots. One classmate, 17-year-old Daniel Borowy, was critically wounded.
Borowy, who has Down syndrome, was sitting at a lunch table with several other students, and the shot that injured him was fired in the direction of that table, according to police, who said Gladden apparently chose the victim at random. He then fired another shot into the ceiling as a guidance counselor and other employees rushed him and wrestled the gun away, police said.
Although the indictment charges Gladden as an adult with trying to kill eight other people, it does not present any new facts, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is in its early stages.
Five of the intended victims named in the indictment — Jordan Simons, Taylor Desaulniers, Muhammad Waheed, Christopher Brooks and Erma Cellini — were sitting at the lunch table with Borowy, the official said. The other three — guidance counselor Jesse Wasmer, Richard Rosenthal and Kathleen Watkins — are school employees who intervened after the initial shot was fired, the official said.
Authorities had previously identified Wasmer as one of the school employees who intervened and got the gun out of Gladden's hands; Wasmer was called a hero by school officials and students. Rosenthal is a math teacher at Perry Hall, and Watkins is an assistant principal. Desaulniers and Brooks are classmates of Borowy, said Trish Smelser, a family friend whose daughter is also in Borowy's classes.
Gladden's attorney, George Psoras, said that although he expected additional charges, the number of charges was excessive.
"They're trying to taint — if this becomes a case in the adult forum — the possible jury pool, because anyone who would have 29 charges clearly must be guilty of something," Psoras said.
Psoras has said that his client did not point the gun at anyone and that he brought it to school to intimidate bullies. He contends that the first shot was fired into the floor and that the shot that wounded Borowy was fired inadvertently while the teen was struggling with school employees over the gun.
Psoras plans to file a motion to move the case to juvenile court. He also intends to ask for a bail review. Gladden is being held without bail and is receiving treatment at a state psychiatric hospital.
"He's very sick," Psoras said, adding that his client was suicidal at the time of the shooting. Gladden made references to murder-suicide and to mass murderer Charles Manson on his Facebook page.
The state's attorney's office declined to comment beyond the contents of a press release, which noted that Maryland law requires that juveniles charged as adults must "move quickly through the initial phases of the criminal justice system."
Borowy continues to recuperate at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. His condition was upgraded to serious on Tuesday, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Follow Ben Nuckols on Twitter at http://twitter.com/APBenNuckols.