Tricia Lammers made her first public statements Tuesday since the arrest last week of her 20-year-old son, Blaec. Authorities said he admitted that he was planning to attack the theater in Bolivar and then a nearby Wal-Mart store, where he’d been arrested in 2009 after following around a clerk while armed with a knife.
Investigators determined he recently purchased two assault rifles and 400 rounds of ammunition.
During a news conference at the National Alliance for Mental Illness in Springfield, Tricia Lammers said her son had undergone inpatient treatment. She said her son has shown signs of Asperger’s syndrome, borderline personality disorder and other conditions.
"He didn’t ask to be born different. He grew up his whole life in (his sister) Kristyn’s shadow. He wanted to be successful and be somebody," she said, KOLR-TV reported. "Just two weeks ago he asked me — both my kids still call me mommy — he said, ‘Mommy, do you think I’m a failure?’ I said, ‘No, Blaec, I don’t.’"
She added that she loves her son, but that she loves her community just as much.
According to the arrest report from the 2009 incident, which was released earlier Tuesday, Blaec Lammers went to the Wal-Mart store with a knife and a rubber mask looking for an "easy victim" after watching the horror film "Halloween." Lammers, then 17, said watching the main character killing people "got him to thinking," the arrest report said.
Lammers told authorities he watched a store clerk for more than two hours. He said he was planning to follow the clerk into a storage room and kill him when he heard his name over the public address system and his father calling out to him, according to the report.
No charges were filed in that case. Instead, Lammers was committed for 96 hours for a mental health examination, Polk County prosecutor Ken Ashlock said Tuesday. Ashlock, who was not the county’s prosecutor in 2009, said he didn’t know what happened after the commitment.
As in the recent case, Lammers’ parents tipped off authorities about the 2009 incident.
The police report said Lammers’ mother called authorities after finding a suicide note from her son and a missing knife in October 2009. An officer was en route when the mother said her son’s vehicle had been found in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart store in Bolivar, a town about 130 miles southeast of Kansas City.
The parents said in 2009 that their son had been diagnosed with depression, and Lammers’ mother said he had an appointment that day with his psychologist and "he has been acting different since then."
Lammers made his first court appearance Tuesday in the movie theater case and was ordered to undergo a mental health exam. He is charged with first-degree assault, making a terroristic threat and armed criminal action, and is being held on a $500,000 bail.
His attorney, DeWayne Franklin Perry, declined to comment Tuesday.
Lammers was arrested last Thursday after his mother contacted police, telling them she was concerned that her son "may have intentions of shooting people" during the opening weekend of the final installment of the popular "Twilight" series.
According to a police, Lammers’ mother said she believed he had amassed weapons similar to those used by the gunman who attacked a theater in Aurora, Colo., in July during a showing of the latest Batman movie. That attack killed 12 people.
Lammers was questioned Thursday afternoon and authorities say he told them he bought tickets to a Sunday "Twilight" screening in Bolivar and planned to shoot people there.
Lammers also said he planned to "just start shooting people at random" at the Wal-Mart store less than a mile away. He said if he ran out of bullets, he could "just break the glass where the ammunition is being stored and get some more and keep shooting until police arrived," investigators wrote in a probable cause statement.
They said Lammers was "off of his medication," but his mother said Tuesday that to her knowledge, that wasn’t true.