Gunman killed after shooting two Pentagon police officers

WASHINGTON (AP) - Resentment of the U.S. government and
suspicions over the 9/11 attacks have surfaced in writings by the
Californian identified as the gunman who shot two Pentagon police
officers before he was mortally wounded in a hail of return fire.

The shooter's death was confirmed early Friday, hours after the
Thursday evening assault, as authorities searched for a motive
behind the brazen attack. The two officers, grazed by bullets, were
treated in a hospital.

The attack unfolded at the subway entrance to the massive
Defense Department headquarters, as an eerie calm and silence were
broken by the explosion of gunfire.

"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."

The Pentagon officers returned fire with semiautomatic weapons,
sending the shooter to the hospital with critical injuries. Beverly
Fields, chief of staff of the D.C. medical examiner's office,
confirmed the man's death and said his body arrived at her office
shortly after midnight.

John Patrick Bedell, 36, of Hollister, Calif., was identified as
the shooter. Officials said they'd found no immediate connection to
terrorism but had not ruled it out.

Signs emerged that Bedell harbored ill feelings toward the
government and the armed forces, and had questioned the
circumstances behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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.

The user named JPatrickBedell wrote the Sabow case was "a step
toward establishing the truth of events such as the September 11

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., for 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 the shooting.

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.

The subway station is immediately adjacent to the Pentagon
building, a five-sided northern Virginia colossus across the
Potomac River from Washington. Since a redesign following the 2001
terrorist attack on the Pentagon, riders can no longer disembark
directly into the building. Riders take a long escalator ride to
the surface from the underground station, then pass through a
security check outside the doors of the building, where further
security awaits.

After the attack, all Pentagon entrances were secured, then all
were reopened except one from the subway, said Pentagon spokesman
Bryan Whitman.

Transit officials said the station would remain closed at least
part of the day Friday while the FBI continued its investigation.

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.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus