Wheeling Shooting Suspect Wasn't After Individual, US Attorney Says

Thursday, 10 Oct 2013 05:22 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Following a shooting at the Wheeling, W.Va., federal building on Wednesday, a U.S. attorney said the former officer who fired several rounds and was subsequently killed didn’t seem to have a grudge against individuals, but was instead angry at the federal government.

U.S. Attorney Bill Ihlenfeld said he didn’t think Piccard had a particular person he was targeting in the attack, West Virginia MetroNews reported. There were numerous people walking around or in cars who could have been hit and weren’t.

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“I think it will become clear that it was a disagreement or a dislike of the federal government,” Ihlenfeld told MetroNews. “I think that’s why he chose the target that he chose. I do not believe, in fact I’m confident in saying, he did not have a specific beef with anyone in particular in the federal building.”

Thomas Piccard, 55, was killed after firing at least a dozen shots at the building. He resigned as a Wheeling police officer in 2000.

Piccard’s neighbors said Piccard had recently told them he had stomach cancer.

“I don’t think he wanted to hurt people,” neighbor Mahlon Shields told The Associated Press. “I think he was afraid to commit suicide.”

Security officers were injured by glass from broken windows, but no one except Piccard was shot in the incident.

Ihlenfeld told the AP that bullets entered rooms in his office during the shooting.

“Members of my staff were crawling on the floor or running from office to office telling people to get away from the windows,” he said.

Forty percent of the staff were on furlough because of the government shutdown, so the office was not as busy as usual, according to the AP.

A U.S. Marshal in West Virginia said officials were trying to determine a motive and if Piccard had a problem with the federal government.

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