Accused Anderson mall shooter had mental illness says father, friend

ANDERSON, SC -  An old friend and a worried father saw each other for the first time in years Thursday morning.


Friend Michael Blackmon and father Patrick Randolph Senior met up to at the Anderson Police station to talk about Randolph’s son, Patrick Deaon Randolph Jr., 28, who is accused of shooting a man inside of the Anderson mall on Friday.


Blackmon said he scheduled a meeting with the lead detective on the case to talk about Randolph's mental health struggle over the years he's known him.


"Our whole community is mind blown, everyone that knows Patrick doesn't believe it,” said Blackmon, who explained he and Randolph were close friends through their high school years.


Blackmon told 7 News that about 8 years ago, Randolph changed and started pushing his friends away.  He said he didn’t know what was going on at the time but he knew something was off.


"He would just blank stare at you like he was confused or scared,” said Blackmon.  “It was just like he was invisible, everyone was invisible. [...] Everyone that does really know him, knows he in his right mind wouldn't do this."


Randolph’s father explained that his son was diagnosed with schizophrenia and paranoia back in 2010.  He said his son tried different types of medication over the years, but nothing seemed to work.


He added that Randolph Jr. was always afraid that people were out to hurt him.


According to Dr. Roger Rhoades, a family therapist in Greenville, that fear is something paranoid schizophrenics often face.


"Something like -- if a person was not a threat, your mind would tell you it is a threat,” he said.


Randolph was ordered by a judge to undergo a psychiatric evaluation on Monday during his bond hearing.


He is charged with attempted murder and possession of a firearm during a violent crime.

A magistrate court judge denied bond on both charges.

The victim, who was shot in the lower abdomen, was taken to the hospital for his injuries and was later released.

Anderson police say Randolph was arrested without incident shortly before 8 p.m. Monday with assistance from the Anderson County Sheriff's Office.

Randolph is expected back in court on July 20. 


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