The man who killed himself after crashing his car into a barricade near the U.S. Supreme Court was troubled by current politics and wasn't in "his right state of mind," his grieving mother said Tuesday.
"We didn't know how much he was hurting," Tamara Cunningham said of her 29-year-old son, Richard Aaron York, who crashed his car into a barricade in the nation's capital early Sunday before shooting himself. No one else was hurt 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."
Having suffered several concussions while wrestling and playing football in high school, his family suspected he might have had CTE, but he had never been diagnosed.
"He had some trouble in his past, and he was struggling," Cunningham said. "He struggled with trying to medicate and figure out what was going on."
The United States Capitol Police, which is investigating Sunday's incident along with the D.C. 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 by 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’re faced with so many different problems: How do you support a family, how do you pay for anything, how do you get ahead? It’s so hard for them," Cunningham said. York had a 9-year-old son whom he was estranged from, 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 to federal law enforcement officials since the search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, leading to fears that York's actions might have been targeting Capitol Police.
But Cunningham said her son likely "wasn't really in his right state of mind obviously to know what he was really doing."
"I think he was just very 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, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.