The Georgia teen facing almost 24 felonies for allegedly threatening to kill Fulton County Sherriff over Young Thug and YSL arrests has mental illness according to his mother.
We reported that deputies took 18-year-old Quartavius Mender into custody on May 26, 2022.
According to investigators, Mender wrote multiple death threats in comments of Instagram posts of Sheriff Pat Labat, the Gwinnett County Sheriff, the Fulton Clerk, and more after the arrest of Atlanta rapper Young Thug, Gunna, and 26 other associates on racketeering charges.
In the comments, officials say Mender wrote he was going to kill Sheriff Patrick Labat, his wife Jackie Labat, and Atlanta Public Schools Police Chief Ronald Applin unless one of the high-profile defendants in the case was released from custody.
“We take these kinds of brazen threats seriously,” Sheriff Labat said in a statement. “
Now according to 95.5 WSB, his mother is speaking out, Malaika Kulenga told Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne that she’s Mender’s mother and she believes his mental illness, diagnosed when he was 12, is to blame.
“My son is dealing with mental health and also he’s grieving, you know? His brother was killed in September from a hit-and-run,” Kulenga said.
“Is Quartavius Mender mentally ill?” Winne asked Labat.
“We haven’t made the assessment, so we’ll leave that to the courts to decide, but the last thing you’re going to do is threaten me and my family,” Labat said.
Labat said at least some of the posts were under an Instagram handle involving the letters YSL, the name of an alleged criminal street gang at the focus of a sweeping RICO conspiracy indictment.
He said he’s not prepared to say yet whether there was a real YSL connection or someone just wanted to make it look that way.
“We assume at this point that they’re gang-related. Specifically, to which gang is yet to be determined,” Labat said.
Kulenga said her son is not affiliated with YSL or any gang, but one of his cousins is named in the YSL indictment.
She said her son has not been in regular communication with him.
“My son is not a gang member. He has no affiliation with any type of gang,” Kulenga said.
Kulenga said she found out her son was under investigation weeks ago when she learned the FBI was at his apartment and she rushed over.
“Where are you finding the strength to deal with this?” Winne asked Kulenga.
“It gotta be prayer. It gotta be God,” Kulenga said.
The suspect’s mother said she believes he should be held accountable for his actions but not at the current level. She said he was not capable of carrying out the threats.
“Do you believe Quartavius Mender had the capacity to carry out these threats?” Winne asked Labat.
“Well, I don’t put it past anybody,” Labat said.
The sheriff says he thanks Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the FBI, and others who helped with the case.
“We have increased the security around the family as a whole. In many instances you see it in many instances you don’t,” Labat said.
Labat said even Friday he and his wife have both received death threats from someone using a different social media handle than he’s seen before, and the judge in the YSL case has also received threatening messages.
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