NewsCovering Kentucky


Mother of man shot by police says son was sold gun despite history of mental illness

Posted at 2:11 PM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 18:43:04-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Sandra Carlton says her son Ryan Jones has a long history of mental illness. Jones was shot on Saturday by Lexington police who said he fired at them first. He was struck in the shoulder and wounded but was treated and released. Jones is now awaiting arraignment in the COVID-19 unit of the Fayette County Detention Center.

“Even when he was trying to buy (guns) I was in the pawnshop begging, ‘Please do not sell him this gun, he’s not mentally stable enough,’” Carlton said during an exclusive interview on Tuesday with LEX 18.

“They sold it to him anyway,” she said, even after her passionate plea.


Carlton was in Ohio on Saturday for an anniversary getaway when her daughter called over Facetime, informing her that Jones had broken into the home where eight people were celebrating a child’s birthday.

“When she Facetimed she was crying, ‘Ryan is trying to kill me,’” Carlton recalled of the conversation. “I’m looking at my phone thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to lose both my children in one day. He’s going to take out his sister, and police are going to take him out,'” she said.

Carlton said her daughter’s boyfriend, Isaiah Hatton tackled Jones and subdued him long enough for police to arrive. She said her son is a different person when he takes his prescription medication, but once he turned 21 in November, she could no longer require him to do so. And because Ryan had no criminal record, she couldn’t prevent that gun sale, nor could she stop police from returning weapons that had previously been confiscated roughly four months ago.

“I begged the police department, ‘Please do not give him these guns back,” she said.

Lexington police cannot comment at this time as the investigation is now being handled by Kentucky State Police, but Carlton doesn’t blame the police. Quite the opposite, actually.

“I would love to meet that officer. He did not shoot to kill. And he would’ve been justified because Ryan shot first, but he didn’t. He shot him in the shoulder, it went clean through and he’s fine,” Carlton said.

Carlton, however, isn’t doing as well after watching that unfold on Saturday night. She has a son who needs help with mental illness waiting for arraignment on criminal charges, which include eight counts of wanton endangerment and attempted kidnapping.

“I never thought in a million years he’d take it this far. By the grace of God I’m not planning two funerals,” she said while fighting back the tears.