(NEWS CENTER) -- The family of the man arrested on the Maine Turnpike Sunday says he suffers from mental illness and they tried to get him help.
Courtois told police he was on his way to Derry, New Hampshire to shoot a former employer. He also said he had been to see The Dark Knight Rises in Saco the night before, with a loaded gun in his backpack.
McCausland says police then searched Courtois's home, at 344 Elm Street in Biddeford, and found several additional guns, a machine gun, and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
Police believe that Courtois obtained most of his guns legally, although they say he did have one illegal automatic weapon. The investigation into exactly how he acquired such a stockpile of guns and ammunition remains open.
NAMI Maine, the National Alliance On Mental Illness, works with families of mentally ill Mainers to help them get the treatment they need. Executive Director Carol Carothers says her agency has heard from many families over the years who are frustrated because they are unable to force a loved one into treatment. The legal standard is that a person must either be unable to care for themselves or be considered a threat to themselves or others to be forced into treatment. It's a recognition that people have the right to make their own health care decisions, regardless of their illness. Carothers says stakeholders have gotten together many times over the years to see if there is a way to improve guidelines as to when someone can intervene, but, she said, "What generally happens when you have the conversation is there are great divides in everyone's view about how it should go."
NAMI does have a number of programs and support opportunities for people who have loved ones with mental illness. Their number is 1-800-464-5767.