The Empire State Building shooter‘s mother recently gave an interview in which she confesses that she cannot explain her son’s actions, that she doesn’t blame police for killing her son, and that part of the tragedy that day was that she believes her son intended to die at the hands of the NYPD.
In an interview with the New York Times, Jeffrey Johnson’s mother explained that she believed that her son wanted the police to kill him that day and that he was struggling with deep depression.
“I believe that he turned and pointed the gun at them to make sure that they would shoot him and he would die,” she said, though she could not identify a cause for her 58-year-old son’s Empire State Building shooting rampage.
She recalled a head trauma that Johnson had suffered in the 6th grade and wondered if it caused her son to snap decades later.
“The doctors told me once that they would be very surprised if he didn’t have any aftereffects,” she says. “I don’t know. This may be some kind of excuse.”
More recently, she wonders if the death of Johnson’s beloved cat Romeo had anything to do with the depression that caused him to turn his gun on police. A letter he wrote after his cat’s passing detailed that Johnson’s “life has been diminished tenfold” following the death of his pet.
“I don’t blame police in New York for shooting my son because he killed somebody, but for me, he hasn’t changed. He’s still the kindhearted, caring person who loved all kinds of animals and I’m sure he loved us,” she said through sobs. “You know a mother always tries to look for the best in you.”
“Don’t worry,” Johnson’s last communication with his mother, a letter, had ended. “I am all right. Jeffrey.”
“But evidently,” his mother said, “he was not.”