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Tag: mental illness

Family: FBI Manipulated Schizophrenic Son to Inspire Bomb Plot in Oklahoma City

Bombing suspect Jerry Drake Varnell

Bombing suspect Jerry Drake Varnell

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The family of a man accused of trying to detonate what he believed was a bomb outside of a bank in downtown Oklahoma City said the suspect is a paranoid schizophrenic and was manipulated by the FBI.

The mother and stepfather of 23-year-old Jerry Drake Varnell said undercover agents took advantage of their son’s mental condition and that he was incapable of carrying out an attack without additional help.

Varnell lived at home and was jobless because of his mental illness, Clifford and Melonie Varnell, of Oklahoma, said in a statement picked up by the Associated Press

“The FBI came and picked him up from our home, they gave him a vehicle, gave him a fake bomb, and every means to make this happen,” the statement said, adding that authorities “should not have aided and abetted a paranoid schizophrenic to commit this act.”

The FBI declined to comment this week.

Varnell faces up to 20 years in prison on a charge of attempting to use explosives to destroy a building in interstate commerce.

Varnell “has suffered through countless serious full-blown schizophrenic delusional episodes and he has been put in numerous mental hospitals since he was 16 years old,” the family’s statement said. 

The Varnells said their son is easily manipulated and that they believe the confidential informant who tipped off the FBI may have inspired the attempted attack.

Boston Police Captain Faced Dilemma When Dealing with Son’s Growing Extremism

Terror Plot Officer's Son

Alexander Ciccolo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Boston Police Captain Robert Ciccolo faced a dilemma when he became concerned that his son may pose a danger because of his growing extremism.

His son, Alexander Ciccolo, was mentally ill and began talking about joining ISIS and fighting in Iraq and Syria, WBUR reports. Although his son hadn’t committed a crime, Capt. Ciccolo took the news to the FBI.

Now his son is charged with plotting to detonate a bomb at an unknown university following an FBI sting.

“Obviously, he struggled with him, and he couldn’t set him straight,” said Boston Police Commissioner William Evans. “So maybe getting locked up was the best thing. Maybe now he’ll get the medical care he needs.”

The son’s attorney thinks the father had a better alternative.

“This is a kid who should have been involuntarily committed in a mental hospital,” said defense attorney Harvey Silverglate, of Cambridge, Mass. “He would have been no danger to society. He would have been no danger to himself.”

Other Stories of Interest

Investigators Trying to Figure Out Why U.S. Soldier Opened Fire at Fort Hood, Killing 3

Ford Hood Darnall HospitalSteve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Investigators are trying to determine what prompted an Iraq war veteran to open fire at Fort Hood on Wednesday, killing three soldiers and injuring 16 others before killing himself, the Washington Post reports.

Many questions remain: Did an argument precede the shooting? Was he properly treated for depression and anxiety?

The shooter, identified as Spec. Ivan Lopez, 34, also returned to the U.S. with a self-reported traumatic brain injury.

“We have to find all those witnesses, the witnesses to every one of those shootings, and find out what his actions were, and what was said to the victims,” said a federal law enforcement official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Lopez opened fire around 4 p.m. Wednesday but he was soon confronted by a female military police officer.

The officer demanded Lopez surrender but he pulled out a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun and shot himself fatally in the head.

FBI Mulls Charges Against Two Cops Accused of Beating Homeless Man to Death

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

On the day a jury found two former Fullerton Police Department officers not guilty of beating a homeless man to death, the FBI said it would determine whether “further investigation is warranted” to bring new charges, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The officers are accused of beating to death Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old schizophrenic man who was well-known in Fullerton, Calif.

“With the conclusion of the state court trial, investigators will examine the evidence and testimony to determine whether further investigation is warranted at the federal level,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller in Los Angeles said in a statement.

The trial lasted three weeks.

FBI: Man Accused of Burning Chinese Consulate Says He Was Hearing Voices

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Fears of terrorism initially spread after someone intentionally set fire to the Chinese consulate in San Francisco last week.

But CBS SF reports that the suspect, 39-year-old Yan Feng, may have been suffering from mental health problems after he told FBI agents that he was hearing voices in Chinese.

Feng was charged Monday with two counts of arson and willfully damaging property belonging to a foreign government.

According to FBI agent Michel Eldridge, the suspect “stated in substance that he targeted the Chinese consulate because all the voices he had been hearing were in Chinese and the Chinese consulate had to have been involved.”

FBI Agent Testifies About 2 Police Officers Using Deadly Force on Homeless Man

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI agent John Wilson didn’t have to see much.

“That would not be good proper police procedure,” Wilson testified after watching a surveillance tape of the deadly police encounter, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Wilson provided expert testimony in the trial of two Fullerton police officers who are charged in the beating death of a mentally ill homeless man, Kelly Thomas.

The video showed the homeless man being struck on the head by an officer’s gun.

“Those strikes to the head would be in excess of what a reasonable officer in this position would use to gain control of the situation.”

FBI Releases Chilling Footage of Navy Yard Gunman Stalking the Building

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has released footage of the Navy Yard gunman stalking the corridors in search of victims.

The shooter, Aaron Alexis, 34, believed he was being controlled by low frequency radio waves, an FBI spokeswoman said, BBC reports.

“At this point I can confirm that there are multiple indicators that Alexis held a delusional belief that he was being controlled or influenced by extremely low frequency, or ELF, electromagnetic waves,” spokeswoman Valerie Parlave said.

Alexis, who killed 12 people and was shot fatally by police, appeared calm when he entered the complex in Washington D.C.

On his gun, Alexis had written, “Better off this way!”

Authorities don’t believe Alexis was looking for anyone in particular.

Navy Yard Shooter Sought Medical Treatment Before Shooting Rampage

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

In the days before he opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard this week, Aaron Alexis sought emergency treatment twice, Bloomberg reports.

The 34-year-old Navy contractor, who had a history of mental illness, requested treatment for insomnia twice in the past month, the Department of Veterans Affairs said Wednesday.

Authorities alerted the local naval station of Alexis’ behavior. A few weeks earlier, Alexis had told police he was hearing voices, Bloomberg reported.

The VA reported that Alexis never threatened to hurt anyone while seeking treatment.

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