The Bay Area man who police say opened fire outside the Pentagon Thursday evening was highly educated but had mental issues, his family said.
John Patrick Bedell pulled a gun at the entrance to the Pentagon Thursday night, shooting two police officers before being fatally wounded by return fire, authorities say.
Bedell's parents, who live in the Hollister, Calif. area, say their son was troubled. His father is a financial planner in Hollister and his mother is the director of Allied Health at Gavilan College, the Hollister Free Lance News reported. His family says Bedell was committed to mental institution three or four times and had a medical marijuana card. He also had purchased $600 worth of items from a Sacramento-area shooting range on Jan. 10.
The family released this statement Friday:
We are devastated as a family by the news from yesterday. To the outside world, this tragedy is the first and only thing they will know of Patrick. To us, he was a beloved son, brother, grandson, nephew, and cousin. We may never know why he made this terrible decision. One thing is certain though---his actions were caused by an illness, and not a defective character. We wish for the speedy and complete recovery of the two officers involved. The family asks that you respect their privacy in this terrible time.
Bedell's online resume shows he studied biochemistry at San Jose State University in the mid 90s and has a bachelor's degree in physics from UC Santa Cruz. Investigators in DC are trying to find out why Bedell was at the Pentagon but they say it's clear that he was trying to get into the building.
One of Bedell's former instructors told the Mercury News that he was very helpful, having set up a Web site to teach other people about circuit boards.
"I couldn't imagine a more gentle person," said Professor David Parent.
Investigators have found no immediate connection to terrorism. The attack appears to be a case of "a single individual who had issues," Richard Keevill, chief of Pentagon police, said Friday.
Hints of those issues emerged in anti-government Internet postings linked to Bedell. One blog linked to Bedell's page on the social networking site LinkedIn contained a two-part treatise on big government, including its vulnerability to being controlled by a criminal organization.
"This organization, like so many murderous governments throughout history, would see the sacrifice of thousands of its citizens, in an event such as the September 11 attacks, as a small cost in order to perpetuate its barbaric control," the blog post read.
The officials say the two wounded guards were officers Jeff Amos and Marvin Carraway, both of whom returned fire. They say a third guard they did not name also fired. Bedell was shot in the head and the left arm.