Rest stop shooter's mother breaks her silence

WESTERVILLE, OH (WCMH) - Rest stop shooter Shawn Johnson's mother breaks her silence. Valerie Rhasiatry revealed new details about her son in a phone call to NBC4's Harrison Hove.

Rhasiatry says she felt her son had mental problems. She said she tried to get him help at Netcare within the last year, but said he convinced the providers he was mentally stable.

Netcare Director of Forensic and Specialized Assessment Services Dr. Terry Kukor says social stigma attached to mental illness is great and it causes many people to avoid seeking help.

"A certain proportion of individuals with serious mental illness really prefer not to think about themselves that way," Kukor explained. "They might seek to minimize the kinds of problem that they're having."

Johnson's mother Valerie says she was unsatisfied with the level of care her son received and wanted more to be done to help him. Dr. Kukor says privacy laws prevent the amount of information he and others can share with families. However, he encourages families to continue sharing information with care providers, "It's very important for them to be involved in providing information, particularly if they think their loved one might not be sharing the full story."

Kukor says many care providers can only see a snapshot of the patient's mental health. Additional information from families can help paint a clear picture and better assess a patient's potential risk to others or themselves.

Johnson's mother, Valerie Rhasiatry, also says her son obtained a concealed carry permit. She says he got the permit without any problems, even with his possible mental issues.

Johnson's concealed carry application considered private and outside the scope of public records requests. The Franklin County Sheriff's Office cannot even confirm Johnson had a permit to carry.

Sheriff Zach Scott did release a statement saying, "Under the state law, a sheriff's office can find information on an applicant's documented mental illness if the applicant was committed to a mental health facility by a judge. The Franklin County Sheriff's Office strives to uphold the law on concealed carry licenses, including reviewing court orders, criminal convictions and charges pertaining to applicants."

An NBC4 records search found Johnson had no prior record.



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