A press conference Thursday afternoon gave the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other authorities a chance to address concerns about a shooting that took place Wednesday at the Federal Courthouse in Wheeling.
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia, William J. Ihlenfeld, II, said the investigation is ongoing and that there are no major developments to report. He said the object of the press conference was to answer questions, and to reassure the public that matters are under control, and that authorities have no reason to suspect any additional dangers related to the incident.
What we know of the gunman:
- Thomas J. Piccard, 55 years old of Bridgeport, OH.
- Retired (2001) Wheeling police officer, with a bone to pick with the federal government
- No history of mental health issues.
“Based on some preliminary findings of the investigation, it appears he was angry with the federal government. We do not think he was angry with any particular individual who worked in the federal building or any particular office,” said Ihlenfeld.
What we know about the incident:
- Piccard was working alone.
- Two weapons: Assault rifle with multiple magazines, and a hand gun.
- 18-20 shots taken only at the federal courthouse, in a random manner, around 2:30 pm, Oct 9. 2013
- US Marshal Court Security Officer and Wheeling Police Officer returned fire, shooting Piccard in the leg and in the chest, fatally wounding him.
- Piccard pronounced dead at a local hospital.
“It was resolved in an appropriate way and in the only way it could have been based upon the situation. The shooter had a lot of additional ammunition on his person and he didn’t get to use it all because of the actions of those who engaged with him,” said Ihlenfeld.
What we know about the investigation:
- Evidence has been collected from Piccard’s trailer home in Bridgeport, OH and from his vehicle, which was parked across from the federal building.
- Materials, including electronic devices, are being processed.
- The investigation continues.
“The investigators worked late into the night and into the early morning hours and executed a search warrant at the suspect’s home in Bridgeport, OH. A search warrant was also executed upon the suspect’s motor vehicle which was parked across the street from the Federal Building. Evidence was gathered during those searches and is being processed.”
Ihlenfeld said those searches were partially a matter of routine, and partially born out of concern for motive. He said there was concern that some kind of explosives might have been left behind.
“In addition there was some writing on the outside of the trailer that led investigators to think there might be something inside of that as well. It was written in Latin. It was translated something to the effect of ‘Beware of all who enter here.’ So there was some concern that there might be an issue and that did not turn out to be the case.”
Anyone with information should contact the FBI Pittsburgh field office: 412-432-4000.