The man who committed suicide after crashing his car into a barricade near the US Supreme Court was troubled by current politics and was not in “his frame of mind,” his grieving mother said Tuesday.
“We didn’t know how much he hurt,” Tamara Cunningham said of her 29-year-old son, Richard Aaron York, who crashed his car on a barricade in the country’s capital early Sunday before shooting himself. No one else was injured in the incident.
Cunningham told NBC News on Tuesday that her son was a hard worker and loved by friends and family. He lived with and cared for his grandmother in Delaware.
“He was a good person,” Cunningham said. “He loved me very, very much.”
After he suffered several concussions while wrestling and playing soccer in high school, his family suspected he might have CTE, but he was never diagnosed.
“He had some problems in his past and he struggled,” Cunningham said. “He struggled trying to get meds and figure out what was going on.”
The United States Capitol Police, who are investigating Sunday’s incident with the DC Metropolitan Police Department, said York had a criminal history, including charges of burglary, theft and assault.
Capitol Police said they have no indication that York’s actions were politically motivated.
Cunningham said her son was frustrated with gas prices and discouraged by the results of the 2020 election, but “he wasn’t flying the Trump flag or anything like that.”
“I think the kids his age… they face so many different problems: how do you support a family, how do you pay for something, how do you get ahead? It’s so hard for them,” Cunningham said. York had a 9-year-old son from whom he was estranged, she said.
Officials said York did not appear to be targeting members of Congress who were on recess.
On Sunday, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin warning of a spike in threats against federal law enforcement officers since the search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, sparking fears that York’s actions targeted the Capitol Police Department.
But Cunningham said her son was probably “not really in his frame of mind, obviously knowing what he was really doing.”
“I think he was just really confused and lost,” she said.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the network, formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at: 800-273-8255text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.