James Boulware, the suspect in an attack on the Dallas Police Department’s headquarters on Saturday morning, had a history of mental health problems, his mother told TV station KDFW Sunday, according to the Associated Press. Boulware reportedly planted pipe bombs outside the headquarters and opened fire at officers before being killed by police.
Jeannine Hammond reportedly said that she “never dreamed" that her son's mental condition would lead him to carry out such an attack. Boulware’s father and brother also confirmed that he had shown signs of mental instability, while police revealed that he had a violent past.
Two years ago, Boulware was arrested for family violence and over suspicion of attacks on schools and churches in an East Texas town. He had fled there after allegedly trying to choke his mother, and the incident had led to a lockdown of schools in the area at the time. According to a Dallas police report of the incident, cited by AP, a witness said that Boulware "began talking rudely about religion, Jews and Christians" with his mother, and after a heated confrontation grabbed her by the neck until a third person intervened. The case was later dismissed. Boulware’s brother, Andrew, recalled that he had refused to seek help.
"We had tried for two years," Andrew Boulware reportedly said. "I didn't honestly think that he would ever go this far, but it was always in the back of my mind that it was a possibility."
Hammond said, in a statement to local media, that "we lost him to mental health long before we lost him to death. "We tried to get him mental help numerous times, but the system failed him, because he was declared 'sane,'" she said, in the statement, according to AP. "He was very delusional. It was very obvious.
"We hope something good can come from this, and that people will reach out to hurting souls around them and unite to build up others, rather than tearing them down," she reportedly added. "We hope that people with mental illness will receive the care they need to avoid situations like this in the future."
Boulware reportedly rammed his van into police cars, fired at the vehicles and at officers before fleeing down an Interstate 45 service road, with the chase ending at a restaurant in Hutchins, about 11 miles south of Dallas. He was shot dead by a police sniper after an hours-long standoff with SWAT team officers on Saturday, but the medical examiner is yet to officially confirm his identity.
Fourteen police officers who "engaged" with the gunman have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. No other person was reportedly injured in the attack.