KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WWMT) - The family of a 9-year-old St. Joseph County boy charged with killing his mother said their cries to get the boy mental health treatment went unanswered.
According to deputies, the 9-year-old used a rifle to shoot and kill Randol. The boy was charged with open murder and a hearing will be held in juvenile court to determine if the boy would be tried as an adult.
The shooting death of Randol sent shock waves through the Sturgis community.
"It's very sad for our community and everyone involved," Lori Wohler, of Sturgis, said.
A family member who wanted to remain anonymous told WWMT that Randol's adopted son, "Was a sweet little boy."
The issue she said, "The places around here lacked education on mental health issues and didn't know how to help him which led to the day where my mother locked down the barrel of the gun and lost her life."
"Sometimes the severity of the trauma and dysfunction in the kid, even well-meaning parents can be over-matched," Larry Beer, a psychologist with Kalamazoo Child and Family Psychological Services, said.
Beer said the pattern of violence could likely be a sign of deeper issues.
"How many times you hear something like this, a 9-year-old kid? It’s very rare. It's fair to assume there was traumatization," he said.
A family member who wanted to remain anonymous said they tried to get the boy help, but they said area mental health facilities lacked adequate services that were needed.
"He almost needed some in-patient rehabilitation program for an extended period of time. I think all too often our system isn’t set up to be able to provide the sufficient amount of mental health services that someone who so damaged needs," Beer said.