Suspected gunman in school shooting came from troubled past

7:16 PM, Oct 11, 2007   |    comments
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We are learning new details about Asa Coon's troubled background. The anger that touched off the tragedy began in the heart and mind of Asa Coon at a very young age. "Are there a lot of Asa's out there? There probably are," Cuyahoga County Children's Services Director Jim McCafferty said. McCafferty says between 1998 and 2002 the county agency twice investigated the Coon family for neglect and once for physical abuse. Asa had mysterious burns on his arm, McCafferty says his older brother, Stephen, may have been to blame. "As these boys got older and more out of control one has to wonder how much control was in their lives," McCafferty said. Stephen Coon has a history of committing violent crimes including assault, weapons and drug charges. One day after the shooting, Cleveland Police arrested Stephen outside his home on an outstanding warrant. "His environment was living with an older brother who has a long violent history of criminal activity not only in juvenile court and adult court," Chief Juvenile Prosecutor Carmen Naso said. In January 2006 Asa Coon was convicted of domestic violence. At the age of 12 he attempted suicide. Asa was prescribed antidepressants and pills for attention deficit disorder. After a psychiatric evaluation specialists suspected he suffered from a bipolar disorder and recommended psychotropic drugs. "He was a troubled youth. In January of 2006 that resulted in violence against his own mother and that should have told us something," Naso said. Whatever it told healthcare professionals, the juvenile and child welfare systems, it was not enough to prevent this from happening. Police say they've gone to the Coon household five times since 2006. They were responding to complaints of domestic violence, assault and some property crimes.


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