The parents of the man who opened fire in front of the Pentagon warned authorities their son was upset and might have gun, a law enforcement official said.
San Benito County (Calif.) Sheriff Curtis Hill told the Associated Press the parents of John Patrick Bedell filed a missing persons report and were worried about his mental stability. After reading an e-mail from their son to an acquaintance, the parents told deputies they were worried that he had purchased a gun.
The parents had reported Bedell missing on Jan. 4, one day after a Texas Highway Patrol officer had stopped him for speeding and was told he was heading for the East Coast.
The 36-year-old Bedell, of Hollister, Calif., returned to his parent's home on January 18 telling them "not to ask any questions" about where he had been. His father Oscar Bedell told deputies his son then left. They did not know where he had gone.
This information is just the latest investigators have gathered in connection to the shootout Thursday night outside the Pentagon.
Resentment of the U.S. government and suspicions over the 9/11 attacks have surfaced in writings by Bedell, who officials say is the gunman who shot two Pentagon police officers before he was shot in the head and left arm in a hail of return fire.
"He just reached in his pocket, pulled out a gun and started shooting'' at point-blank range, said Richard Keevill, chief of
Pentagon police. "He walked up very cool. He had no real emotion on his face.''
Bedell was "very well dressed" in a suit, Keevill said. The FBI said Bedell wore slacks, a white collared shirt and blazer. He also sported a full beard.
"There was no indication based on the way he was dressed that he had hostile intent," Keevill said.
Officials said they'd found no immediate connection to terrorism but had not ruled it out.
"He came here from California,'' Keevill said. "We were able to identify certain locations that he spent that last several weeks
making his way form the West Coast to the East Coast.''
Law enforcement officials said Bedell stopped at a motel in Reno, Nev., before traveling to the nation's capital. It was not immediately clear how long Bedell stayed there, or if it was anything more than a stopover on his way to a violent end.
Investigators found his car, a green 1998 Toyota Avalon, at the Fashion Centre Pentagon City Mall parking garage. Investigators are searching the car, conducting interviews and reviewing a video of the shooting in an effort to piece together a timeline of Bedell’s activities leading up the incident. Investigators will also review Bedell’s possible internet activity, his cell phone usage and other information which might help determine his state of mind at the time of the shooting.
A blog connected to Bedell via the social networking site LinkedIn outlines a growing distrust of the federal government. The blog
suggests a criminal enterprise run out of the government could have staged the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
It's the latest batch of conspiracy-laden Internet postings to surface since Thursday night's shooting.
In an Internet posting, a user by the name JPatrickBedell wrote that he was "determined to see that justice is served'' in the
death of Marine Col. James Sabow, who was found dead in the backyard of his California home in 1991. The death was ruled a
suicide but the case has long been the source of theories of a cover up. Sabow's family has maintained that he was murdered
because he was about to expose covert military operations in Central America involving drug smuggling.
Keevill said Friday that authorities had not made "a final determination'' that the shooter was the same Bedell.
The user named JPatrickBedell wrote the Sabow case was "a step toward establishing the truth of events such as the September 11 demolitions.''
That same posting railed against the government's enforcement of marijuana laws and included links to the author's 2006 court case in Orange County, Calif., involving allegations of cultivating marijuana and resisting a police officer. Court records available
online show the date of birth on the case mentioned by the user JPatrickBedell matches that of the John Patrick Bedell suspected in
A video posted on YouTube in 2006 reportedly shows Bedell discussing information currency:
The assault at the very threshold of the Pentagon -- the U.S. capital's ground zero on Sept. 11, 2001 -- came four months after a
deadly attack on the Army's Fort Hood, Texas, post allegedly by a U.S. Army psychiatrist with radical Islamic leanings.
Hatred of the government motivated a man in Texas last month to fly a small plane into a building housing Internal Revenue Service
offices, killing an IRS employee and himself.
Whatever the motive of Thursday's attack, the method resembled one in January in which a gunman walked up to the security entrance of a Las Vegas courthouse and opened fire with a shotgun, killing one officer and wounding another before being gunned down in a barrage of return fire.
President Barack Obama was getting FBI updates on the Pentagon shooting through his homeland security and counterterrorism
adviser, John Brennan, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said.
Law enforcement officials were also scrutinizing a second man, who might have accompanied the shooter, and were running his name through databases.
Keevill said the gunman gave no clue to the officers at the checkpoint about what he was going to do.
"There was no distress,'' he said. ``When he reached into his pocket, they assumed he was going to get a pass and he came up with a gun.''
"He wasn't pretending to be anyone. He was wearing a coat and walked up and just started shooting.''
Keevill added: "We have layers of security and it worked. He never got inside the building to hurt anyone.''
Ronald Domingues, 74, who lives next door to Bedell's parents in a gated golf course community in Hollister, said he doesn't know
the family well. But he said Bedell sometimes lived with his parents and struck him "like a normal young man.''
"He just seemed like a normal guy to me,'' Domingues said. "I wouldn't suspect he would be involved in anything like this.''
Domingues described the neighborhood as middle-class. He said the Bedells live in a one story southwestern-style stucco home. The house was dark Thursday night.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone who believes he or she may have witnessed the shooting, or may have additional information, is urged to call the FBI at 202-278-2000.