(NEW YORK) — It may sound unthinkable, but one mom said reporting her son to the police felt necessary after she found signs her son was planning a killing spree and attack on his school and home.
Nichole Schubert, who first told The Wall Street Journal about her story, said she was cleaning her home in 2019 when she found her son’s journal with plans that outlined how he would kill her at home first and then attack his Washington high school, where he was a 17-year-old senior at the time.
“It was very descriptive,” Schubert recalled in an interview with ABC News’ Good Morning America’s T.J. Holmes that aired Thursday. “It was just heartbreaking. I didn’t, I didn’t really want to know the details.”
Schubert said seeing what her son wrote was devastating.
“That’s my child, I, I gave birth to him, you know. It hurts a lot. It still hurts,” she said.
But within hours, Schubert said she notified the authorities of her son and his plans.
“Your first instinct is, as a parent, is to protect your child. But at that point, I felt like if he is actually going to do these things, he would be safer in jail,” Schubert said.
“It wasn’t just about me and him at that point,” she added. “It was about a whole school — hundreds of people, hundreds of kids, children.”
Schubert said she doesn’t regret reporting her son.
“I believe I saved lives,” she told GMA.
Since then, Schubert said she continues to speak about her family’s story in the hopes of helping to prevent another school shooting or similar tragedy.
“If there’s a possibility to save even one — one person, one child — I think it’s worth it,” said Schubert.
Schubert said she later turned over her son’s notebook to police and told them she had also previously found what she believed to be a homemade pipe bomb in her son’s room. Her son, who contends the journal writings were a fantasy and story and not a real plan, was arrested and pleaded guilty to a felony charge for threatening to bomb or injure property and misdemeanors for harassment.
He underwent a mental evaluation and completed a rehabilitation program and community service afterward.
In the wake of recent mass shootings, Schubert said she wants other parents to pay attention to warning signs.
“Stay in their business. Even if they don’t like it. They’re not going to like it. But as parents, it’s our job to know what our kids are doing,” she said. “Just be aware and watch for signs. Kids will normally tell you by their actions when something is wrong.”
“Obviously, we can’t control our children’s actions all the time. Who can? But there are signs that something’s not right, something’s, you know, why is he acting weird? Why? Why is he so to himself?” she continued. “I was in his room, you know? What are you doing? Where are you going? All the time. And he hated it. But he’s alive. And everyone’s alive and he’s not in jail.”
Today, Schubert said her son is working and hopes to go to college and since his arrest, has not had any trouble with the law.
“You just pray. You just pray that God … helps them make the right choices through life. Because what else can you do? He’s over 18 now,” she said. “He’s my child. I love him unconditionally. I’ll always be there for him. I’ll always love him no matter what he does.”
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