Spokane mom concerned over son’s behavior following Florida school shooting

Mom concerned of son's behavior

The school shooting in Florida struck a nerve with one Spokane mom who reached out to KXLY, concerned about her own child.

When Karen Weisgerber adopted her son, she chose to love him unconditionally – she didn’t know how hard that would be.

“He’s not in control of himself,” Weisgerber said. “He cannot control this rage that takes him over.”

Weisgerber’s son suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome, which causes brain damage and growth problems – the effects are not reversible. His biological mother consumed alcohol and other harmful substances during pregnancy.

“Every three to five weeks he would have a major meltdown,” Weisgerber said. “And when he was little, we would handle it. I used to just wrap my arms around him.”

As Weisgerber’s son grew older, he became stronger. By age 5, she had no choice but to call police for help when he became violent and aggressive. At age 11, he sent her to the hospital with two black eyes and a swollen face.

Weisgerber’s son is now 16. He’s been kicked out of three group homes for assaulting employees and is no longer allowed in school. Weisgerber said her son spends most of his time playing violent video games.

“He doesn’t want to get a driver’s license. He is afraid of himself – if her were to go into a rage while he was driving that he could hurt people,” Weisgerber said.

While she doesn’t think her son would ever buy a gun, she fears he one day could. There’s been so many charges against him, Weisgerber has lost track of them all. After six months of probation, Weisgerber said a probation officer told her son that his record could be wiped clean sometime after his 18th birthday if he didn’t get into any more trouble.

“I am alarmed at the idea now that he could buy a gun when he turns 18 with a clean record,” Weisgerber said.

She didn’t have enough information to confirm that.

Washington State law prohibits a person from buying or possessing a firearm if they have been convicted of a felony, involuntarily committed to a mental hospital, or found guilty or innocent by reason of insanity.

In 2016, Washington voters approved a law that allows concerned family members to ask the court to take guns away from a potentially dangerous relative. An extreme risk protection order allows family members, as well as law enforcement officers, to file a petition demonstrating to a judge that an individual poses a significant risk of harm to themselves, or others. If the court determines that the petitioner has met the standard of proof, it will issue an order that lasts up to one year and can be renewed.