His parents, the former Bonnie Lee Shumaker and Robert Gladden Sr., married in Towson on April 10, 1992. His mother, then 19, was four months pregnant with a girl, Ashlie Ann, who will turn 20 next month. Gladden Senior was 20, according to court documents.
In January 1996, Bonnie Gladden filed an assault complaint against her husband, according to online court records, and he was charged with assault with intent to murder, use of a deadly weapon and battery. A judge acquitted him at trial, records show.
The details of the case were unavailable, according to the Baltimore County District Court clerk's office. County police spokeswoman Cpl. Cathleen Batton said she found a police report involving the couple from 1996 but couldn't confirm that it was from the same case. In that report, Bonnie Gladden claimed that her husband assaulted her while they were driving and that she sustained cuts and scratches.
Their son was born Aug. 5 of the following year.
When he was 10, Gladden's parents split up, filing a formal separation agreement in Baltimore County Circuit Court. Bonnie Gladden asked for custody of the children but offered to grant their father visitation as long as he "does not take the children out of state" and "follows the treatment plan his doctor prescribes for mental health," court records show.
The separation agreement called for the children to live with her and have "liberal visitation" with their father, three times per week. They shared holidays and birthdays and traded off weekends.
The Gladdens agreed to split most of the family debts and vehicles. Gladden Senior. originally agreed to pay $200 a week in child support until the children reached age 18 and to pay his wife $100 a week for six months or until she found a full-time job. She eventually found work that paid $11.15 per hour and offered 36 hours per week, court records show. Gladden Senior averaged a salary of about $24,870 per year.
But he was in arrears almost from the start. By April 2009, he owed nearly $2,700 in back child support.
Bonnie Gladden filed for divorce the next month, asking for sole physical and legal custody of the couple's two children and declining to pursue alimony because "I just want to end marriage and put this all behind me," she wrote in a three-page complaint.
She was awarded a judgment of divorce a year later. Gladden Senior didn't show up for the divorce hearing.
By November of last year, Gladden Senior was $8,400 behind in child support payments. He'd racked up a string of traffic charges involving driving on a suspended license or without registration, though the cases were rarely pursued. And he was charged with marijuana possession three times in the past decade — twice in 2011 — receiving probation before judgment twice and one 60-day jail sentence.
The Gladdens developed a new parenting agreement late last year and agreed to cease child support going forward. They agreed to split expenses, including "financial obligations [Robert Junior] incurs while a minor that parents will be responsible for, such as damages to other people's property or restitution for any crimes he commits."
The parents couldn't be reached to comment Tuesday.
Psoras said Gladden took the shotgun to school intending to do "nothing more than to intimidate, to stop somebody from bullying." Psoras, a Lutherville-based lawyer, also has defended the father in some of his brushes with the law.
"Everybody's trying to compare [this case] to Columbine, to the horrible events in Colorado and the recent 'Joker' [in Maryland] who made statements to his employer," Psoras said. "But you can't generalize and just put Bobby Gladden in this category with these other people. He's a truly nice young man; he has no prior contacts with the criminal justice system."
"He clearly didn't comprehend the magnitude of what happened," Psoras said.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this poor young man who was accidentally shot," Psoras added, referring to Borowy. "We wish him nothing but a speedy recovery. The Gladdens are devastated. … They're not cold, callous people. They have a teenager, just like this family."
The suspect's friend Asbury said Gladden was into skateboarding, biking and video games. He said his friend was a fan of Invader Zim, a Nickelodeon animated series about an extraterrestrial trying, often haplessly, to conquer Earth, and especially the character GIR, an erratic and irreverent robot made of spare parts.
Gladden was wearing a bright green shirt featuring GIR on Monday, Asbury said. He saw Gladden Monday morning, and only in retrospect did he notice something different.
"He usually walked with his head a little tilted, but it was down," Asbury said.
Reporters Liz Bowie, Jessica Anderson, Ian Duncan, Mary Gail Hare and Kevin Rector contributed to this article.
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