WASHINGTON COUNTY (KFSM) -- Just days after his son shot a deputy, Lee Plumlee told 5NEWS that mental illness played a role in the shooting.
Plumlee said his 24-year-old son, Raymond, has suffered from schizophrenic paranoia ever since he was 15.
“He is a good-hearted person” Lee Plumlee said. "This disease has really changed him."
Plumlee said his son was playing a joke on his neighbor as a teenager, when he knocked on their door and hid. However, the father of the neighbor took the joke seriously.
“[The man] stuck a gun to his face, right to his face," Plumlee said. "After that incident, that changed Raymond. They say sometimes a tragic accident like that can cause that disease.”
The family of the man accused of pointing the gun at Raymond Plumlee's face told 5NEWS the door-knocking was not a joke, as they felt he was attempting to break into their home. The neighbors told 5NEWS the accusations that the incident triggered the schizophrenia are false.
Lee Plumlee said his son has had several psychotic episodes, which are typically triggered after he fails to take his medication.
“The police have been to our house multiple times over the years,” Plumlee said.
On Tuesday (March 15), Plumlee said his son was having another schizophrenic episode.
“Raymond had been thinking that the Freemasons and the Illuminati were trying to get him,” he said.
Raymond’s parents called 911 and reported their son was making suicidal threats. They also said he was in possession of a shotgun.
Raymond told his parents he would die if anyone came for him.
“In his mind, they were going to take him, torture him, and kill him,” Plumlee said.
After Raymond fired shots at law enforcement, hitting a deputy, his father said he listened on the phone as another officer approached his son.
“He asked my son to put the gun down, and it would be okay. [The officer] said he would take care of him.”
The Plumlees applauded the composure of the officers.
“Thank God the police didn’t kill him,” Plumlee said.
The Plumlees also wanted to make it clear that they won’t condone what their son did.
“We thank God that the officer is okay," he said. "Our hearts and prayers go out to him and his family.”
However, they asked the public to consider how mental illness took over their son’s mind during an already stressful time.
**NOTE: The family of the man accused of pointing a gun at Raymond Plumlee in the following interview said the story is not accurate. A member of the family said the incident did not begin as a prank, something Lee Plumlee disagreed with.**