A son’s rampage, a parent’s lament
|By Kendi Anderson and Tim Omarzu, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Roden already had thrown a fire extinguisher through a glass exit door at a deputy outside, who had to dodge it to keep from being hit.
Deputies had to stun the sweat-drenched 22-year-old with a Taser to get him under control after they pushed past a barricade of furniture Roden had stacked against the conference room's door.
His anguished adoptive parents said Thursday that Roden's lifelong mental health problems are to blame for the rampage that caused an estimated
Roden had spiraled downward over the previous two weeks because of a series of events culminated by breaking up with his girlfriend, who lives near
"He had no grudge against that school," said Aaron's father,
'Hell came to visit'
"We love him,"
"We have loved him from the day we picked him up from the adoption agency," she wrote. "We have loved him from the day I said to my husband, 'There's something wrong with this baby.'"
As a child, Roden had problems in nursery school and kindergarten because he "could not calm down and was 'angry,'"
As a teen he was "defiant and unmanageable," constantly in counseling, running away from school, under multiple new medications and given a possible diagnosis of being bipolar.
"Middle school is when Hell came to visit," she wrote. "We sent him to a highly recommended wilderness program, but they could not help."
"Despite our numerous requests, he has never had a complete mental health assessment because our insurance would not pay for him to stay the length of time it required," she wrote.
This was Roden's second serious encounter with the law this month and his 11th incident with authorities since
During a previous stay in jail, Roden was held in solitary confinement for several months, his mother wrote, which "of course, made his condition worse."
Things actually improved,
"Aaron is bright and personable, and was trying very hard to put his past behind him and start a new life," his mother wrote.
"Our son is not a criminal. Our son has an illness," she wrote. "It is our prayer that he will get the treatment he needs. We ask for your prayers as well."
County eyeing mental health court
Roden was booked into
The jail has a wing for mentally ill and unstable patients, but inmates are typically only moved there after being placed on suicide watch, officials said.
Officials wouldn't disclose information about Roden's location and condition, citing federal health privacy law.
She said families can ask for for a forensic evaluation to see if the person was competent at the time of the crime.
"This can lead to getting them some help," Allen said.
"The court will help identify and provide a safety net for people like this man," she said.
Such a court would offer offenders alternatives to jail. They would be given the chance to follow treatment programs and could have their sentences dismissed or commuted.
"A significant percentage of
The court remains in the planning stages, she said, and a time line has not yet been established.
"He didn't hurt me or these children," she said. "We all just want him to find the help he needs."
"The damages he caused at the school are worth it in my eyes if this young man can get help and the children can grow to learn more about forgiveness," Williams said."If he would come back to the school and sincerely apologize to the teachers, students, and the building -- I would welcome him."
Contact staff writer
(c)2014 the Chattanooga Times/Free Press (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
Visit the Chattanooga Times/Free Press (Chattanooga, Tenn.) at www.timesfreepress.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services