Fa­ther of man ar­rested for bring­ing gun to movie the­ater speaks out

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - MARIYA LEWTER mlewter@cov­news.com

Ear­lier this week, news broke that a Cov­ing­ton man named Wil­liam Dako­tah Gos­sett was ar­rested and jailed in West­ern Penn­syl­va­nia on July 24 for bring­ing a stolen gun and am­mu­ni­tion into a movie the­ater, ac­cord­ing to Cen­ter Town­ship, Penn­syl­va­nia po­lice.

When the news trav­eled back to Cov­ing­ton, it hit the Gos­sett fam­ily harder than one could imag­ine.

“My mother saw it on the news, and it se­verely up­set her,” said Kyle Gos­sett, Wil­liam’s fa­ther. “It’s hurt our fam­ily pretty bad be­cause of his name. Every­body knows that name. We’ve lived here since 1969, so we know a lot of folks here, and it’s dis­heart­en­ing. I’ve got­ten emails, texts and Face­book mes­sages say­ing, ‘Hey, is this your son?’ It’s over­whelm­ing to have to ad­mit that it is. What he does re­flects back on us.”

Gos­sett, 21, was born and raised in Cov­ing­ton, Ge­or­gia. Around 11 years ago, Gos­sett’s fa­ther and mother, Lisa Fox, sep­a­rated. Gos­sett then spent time go­ing back and forth stay­ing with his par­ents.

Ac­cord­ing to his fa­ther, he had a his­tory with trou­ble, which he feels may be linked to his bat­tle with Asperger Syn­drome.

“He’s al­ways been what you would call mis­chievous,” he said. “He was al­ways into stuff, and he was fas­ci­nated with knives. He has Asperger's, which is a form of Autism. When he was 9 years old, they tested his IQ, and it was 140. So he’s su­per smart but not when it comes to com­mon sense stuff. Does he know right from wrong? Yeah, he does. He just doesn’t look at the con­se­quences.”

Gos­sett’s par­ents both at­tempted to get him help as a ju­ve­nile. He was once sent to a men­tal hospi­tal for a 72-hour men­tal eval­u­a­tion. How­ever, af­ter a day and a half, he was re­leased by the doc­tors.

“The men­tal hospi­tal told me if he hasn’t harmed any­body, threat­ened any­body or hurt him­self, then there’s noth­ing they could do,” his fa­ther said.

Ac­cord­ing to his fa­ther, Gos­sett cur­rently has two felonies in New­ton County af­ter po­lice found him with a fake ID and some­one else’s credit card in­for­ma­tion. Af­ter serv­ing time in jail, he was placed on 10 years of pro­ba­tion, which pro­hibits him from be­ing able to leave the state.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tors of the Penn­syl­va­nia case, how­ever, told his par­ents that he had pre­vi­ously con­ducted a home bur­glary in Ohio, steal­ing the gun and $2,200 just prior to his trip to Cen­ter Town­ship.

Gos­sett’s fa­ther said his son was no­ticed by po­lice in the movie the­ater that day be­cause he was dressed in Army fa­tigues and hold­ing a book bag de­spite it be- ing 95 de­grees out­side. Ac­cord­ing to his fa­ther, the movie he had planned to see was “The Purge: Elec­tion Year,” which is about an an­nual hol­i­day that al­lows all crime, in­clud­ing mur­der, to be le­gal for 12 hours.

“I hate what he did, but I’m glad he got caught be­fore who knows what could have hap­pened,” his fa­ther said. “You never want to see your child in trou­ble. That’s what makes you think, ‘how could I have pre­vented that? What did I do that made him want to do this?’ His mom and I both hope they can get him some help this time be­cause we’ve done ev­ery­thing we could do down here.”

Gos­sett is set to ap­pear in court on Aug. 3 in Penn­syl­va­nia.

Gos­sett

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