Updated: December 05, 2019 08:26 AM
Created: June 18, 2019 08:31 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The parents of the teenager who is accused of firing a gun at V. Sue Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho in February have been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Prior to the shooting, a criminal complaint states that Tamara and Dale Owen were warned about their son's fascination with shooting up the school.
Police say the parents were made aware of a text message Joshua Owen sent to another student that stated, "Ever since my dad got a gun from his friend something tells me I should shoot up my school and I don't want to but I keep fighting it."
The officer said the parents denied having a firearm in the home. However, police believe Joshua used a gun that was unsecured in his parents' bedroom closet.
The criminal complaint says the charges were pursued because the parents had prior knowledge of Joshua's mental health and knew of his threats to "shoot up the school."
Joshua is charged with three counts of attempt to commit murder in the first degree, unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon on school premises and unlawful possession of a handgun by a person under 19.
No one was injured in the shooting.
An attorney for Joshua Owen released a statement about the matter on June 26. It reads:
It’s easy to point at these parents and blame them. What police and prosecutors are ignoring is how hard these parents had already been working for months and months to get their son the help he needed. They’d taken him to multiple doctors and could only wait for an official evaluation to begin appropriate treatment. That evaluation arrived in the mail just days after this incident – months after the parents had taken their son in for help. Why it took so long to get his evaluation isn’t clear, but it wasn’t because his parents were lazy and neglectful. Theirs is not the behavior of negligent parents who don’t care about their child or their community. Theirs is the desperation of parents watching a powerful mental illness transform their son while looking to a broken mental health system for help. Now police and prosecutors say they deserve to go to jail for that. My client has already been found incompetent and has been placed in treatment. His parents, once at the mercy of a broken mental healthcare system, are now facing their own criminal charges from a political criminal justice system. - Steven P. Archibeque - Attorney for Joshua Owen
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