The man suspected of riddling Dallas police headquarters with bullets was mentally ill, according to his family, who once told authorities they were worried he would go on a shooting spree.
The suspect, who identified himself as James Boulware to police, was killed by a sniper inside his armored van in a dramatic standoff with police hours after the ambush on their headquarters early Saturday. Police did not immediately confirm his identity.
Pipe bombs were found around the police headquarters and inside the vehicle.
Boulware's mother, Jeannine Hammond, said her son was mentally ill and "heard voices," reported NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.
Boulware's family said in a statement that it was "in shock."
"We tried to get him mental help numerous times, but the system failed him, because he was declared 'sane.' He was very delusional. It was very obvious," the family said.
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Boulware, 35, of Paris, Texas, had been arrested multiple times. One of the more troubling arrests was in May 2013, when he allegedly choked his mother, strangled his uncle and made threats, including one about a mass shooting.
Police found an array of weapons when they arrived at his home at the time.
"There are four or five long guns and three or four pistols, tubs full of ammunition, and the body armor," said Paris Police Chief Bob Hundley said, according to NBC affiliate KTEN.
Relatives told police Boulware threatened to "kill all the adult members of the family and then that's when he made the comment he may shoot up some churches and schools," Hundley said.
Boulware's brother, Andrew, said Boulware viewed churches and schools as "easy targets," since no one inside was armed.
After that, Boulware's mother received custody of Boulware's adolescent-aged son.
"There were 3 family violence cases against this suspect and there apparently was some kind of custody issue, as a result of these family violence issues," Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Saturday. "We had no other indication of this suspect threatening police officers or threatening police facilities."
The custody battle made Boulware bitter at authorities, said his father, Jim Boulware.
"He got angry from losing his son, because he loved his son, and he never did anything to his son," Jim Boulware told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.
"He did not get justice," his dad said. "He looked at the police as taking his son."
The father said he had just received a visit from Boulware on Friday night, hours before the rampage at the police headquarters. Boulware mowed his father's lawn before leaving at about 9:30 p.m. local time, and his father said he had "no idea" that his son was armed with guns and pipe bombs.
He did, however, take note of the van that his son was driving, which he said his son had just picked up in Georgia.
"It wasn’t a normal van, but people do stuff," Jim Boulware said. "They decorate vans to look military, all that stuff."
In their statement, Boulware's family said that he "wasn't all bad."
"He gave $6,000 to the victims of the Japanese tsunami and gave a car he had to a struggling young couple so they could get back on their feet. He would help others when he could, before his mental state deteriorated to the point it was today."
Jim Boulware added, "You can’t go by one incident in a person’s life."