It started with an e-mail. In fact, it was the last of more than 600 e-mails CNN received in the wake of the Northern Illinois University shootings on Valentine’s Day. But this one stood out to me.
A frustrated and clearly anguished mother of a teenager was telling us she could relate to the massacre. That’s because her own son planned a school shooting when he was a high school junior in Idaho.
I immediately contacted Elaine Sonnen and spoke to her for at least an hour. I was immediately fascinated by her story - she saw the warning signs in her son, Richard, and was able to stop him from killing his classmates. But she still worried that he could be violent if he stopped taking his medication.
Still, there was little she could do because he was now over 18 and living on his own. She wanted to talk, but we knew the story would not be complete without hearing from Richard himself.
“Do you think he would talk to us?” I asked her. She agreed to call him and find out.
Within minutes, Richard was calling me to find out what the story was about. He told me he was interested in talking to me about his past, with the hope that other people his age could learn from his story.
This is one part of our hour-long Special Investigations Unit documentary, “Campus Rage.”
I also investigate a case where a senior in college is threatening suicide. He's depressed, he's stopped going to class and told a friend he bought a gun. The university found out about this troubled student but what happened next is being called into question.
Here’s a question for you: If a college finds out one of its students is depressed and is a threat to himself or others - do you think the college has the responsibility to share that information with that students’ parents? Or do you think the school should respect a student’s privacy and leave the parents out of the picture? What do you think?
– Abbie Boudreau, Correspondent/CNN Special Investigations Unit
Program note: How do you stop a killer bent on revenge? Nearly a year after the Virginia Tech massacre, an all new CNN Special Investigations Unit examines the warning signs this weekend in "Campus Rage." Watch Friday and Saturday at 8p ET.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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