In a surprising move, the parents of the Rio Rancho school shooting suspect have been charged in the case.

This past February, Joshua Owen went to V. Sue Cleveland High School and attempted to shoot three students, reports Albuquerque Journal.

Fortunately, the gun jammed, and later fired off without hitting anyone. But unlike other cases across the country involving school shootings, the teen’s parents have been charged with a fourth-degree felony.

Legal expert, John Day, told KOAT:

“We haven’t really seen this kind of case charged like this.”

Police said Dale Owen, 62, and Tamara Owen, 48, knew their 16-year-old son had threatened to “shoot up” the school and left an unsecured firearm in their bedroom closet.

The teen’s parents are now facing charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.


Authorities learned about Joshua’s intent to kill people through a March 2018 text message to his ex-girlfriend that read:

Ever since my dad got a gun from his friend something tells me I should shoot up my school and I don’t want to but I keep fighting it.

The teen was reportedly hearing voices and his ex reported it to a school resource officer. At the time his parents denied having a gun but they did. The charging complaint read:

Due to prior knowledge of Joshua’s mental health, prior threats to ‘shoot up the school’ and indications that he would attempt to gain a firearm, it appears that Joshua’s parents contributed to his delinquency by failing to secure a firearm within their residence.

If convicted, Dale and Tamara could face up to 18 months in prison.

Joshua was charged with three counts of attempted murder, unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon on school premises and unlawful possession of a handgun by a person under 19.

Watch the video below:

About the author

Tiffani is a writer for Dearly. She is from New York City. Prior to working for Dearly she covered fashion news and managed social media for various digital media outlets.

Leave a comment

One Reply to “Parents of the Rio Rancho School Shooting Suspect Also Face Charges—Their Firearm Wasn’t Properly Secured”

We are excited to announce Dearly has joined forces with Mama’s Uncut. Helping Mom’s across the United States answer questions on life’s big challenges.