January 26, 2008 in City

Church closed because of teen

Erica F. Curless Staff writer

Community United Methodist Church shut down its preschool and closed Wednesday when it learned that one of its child care workers was perhaps suicidal and driving around Coeur d’Alene with stolen guns.

Brian Edward Gilmore, 18, never made it to the church to commit suicide in the attic as his attorney has said he planned. Instead, he was arrested later that morning across the street in the Lake City High School parking lot with a loaded shotgun and three stolen, high-powered rifles in his car.

Law enforcement began looking for Gilmore after his mother learned he had stolen guns from a relative’s house and she contacted the Kootenai County sheriff, worried he could “do a Columbine.” They alerted the schools, but not the neighboring church. Church officials said they learned about Gilmore through parents who were somehow alerted.

The Rev. Heather Seman said Friday that Gilmore had worked in the First Steps preschool for at least four months and helped care for about 40 children ages birth to 5, including Seman’s own two children. He was not a member of the church but had participated in some youth activities. She said that Gilmore was good with the children and that the children responded to him well.

“There were no red flags,” Seman said, adding that she was unaware Gilmore was on prescription medication for depression and social anxiety.

“The reality is Brian is a part of our community,” she said. “Things may have changed, but it’s still our responsibility to pray for him, strengthen him and support him. We cannot cut ourselves off from Brian or his family.”

In a Coeur d’Alene police report released Friday, Gilmore told officers repeatedly that he had no intent to harm anyone at his former high school.

“There’s no one I don’t like that much,” he said in the report, which also included Gilmore referring to himself as a “worthless failure” and burden to his family because of a recent spree of thefts. Gilmore said the stealing began when he started taking medication for depression and the thefts of items such as batteries, vitamins and a guitar from the church helped him with the boredom related to the anxiousness from the prescriptions.

The officer questioned Gilmore several times about why he parked in the school lot and got out his the car with his backpack and began walking toward the school.

Gilmore said he was attempting to look like a regular student when he saw the police at the school. He thought the police were looking for him because of a theft of paint gun parts he committed the day before at Sportsman’s Warehouse.

“He felt parking at a location other than the church would grant him the necessary time to enter the church attic, finish his book, complete some journal entries and overdose” on sleeping medication he bought earlier in the day at a grocery store, the report said.

A voluntary polygraph test, which included the same question, showed less than a 1 percent likelihood Gilmore was deceiving the interviewer.

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