A Tennessee man who reportedly fatally shot his 8-year-old son and himself this week suffered from mental illness and wasn’t to be alone with his son, according to reports.
James Reagan, 38, and his son, Clark, were found critically injured Monday morning at the father’s condo in Maryville. The pair, who were discovered in the bedroom amid a small fire, died from their injuries a short time later, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
James was a first-grade teacher at Foothills Elementary School, where Clark was a third-grader. Maryville City Schools spokeswoman Sharon Anglim confirmed to the newspaper that he had taken a 44-day leave from his job and hadn’t returned to class since spring break.
Miranda Talley Reagan, Clark’s mother and James’ estranged wife, took to Facebook a day after the fatal shooting and asked the public to not hold animosity towards her husband for his actions.
“Compassion is the remedy for anger. This was mental illness. It’s heartbreaking this will be his legacy and that he was so tormented in his mind,” she wrote.
“We will never understand, but please don’t hate him.”
Miranda had filed for divorce in January and in court filings, expressed concern that James was misusing his medications, according to WBIR.
Nine days before the divorce filing, James was allegedly acting erratically and was taken to the hospital, where he struck a nurse before he was sedated. WATE reported that it was determined that he was under the influence of drugs—and that an Ambien prescription he had filled that day was missing nine pills.
At the time of the shooting, Miranda had a restraining order against James which barred him from being with Clark unsupervised. The order also banned James from contacting Miranda unless it involved co-parenting.
“I could drown in thoughts of everything we will miss or all of the tiny parts of life he will take with him,” Miranda wrote, referring to the loss of her 8-year-old son.
“But he’s not missing anything. This world has nothing to offer him in comparison to what he has now. It’s us that will miss out, but not him.”
I have to share this because it is a beautiful testament to a mother’s love and loss and her incredible, inspiring faith…
[Featured image: Miranda Talley Reagan, Clark Reagan/Facebook]