WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — A former police officer who sprayed a courthouse in West Virginia with bullets wrote of his hatred for the federal government and had serious medical problems, a federal prosecutor said Thursday.
Thomas J. Piccard, 55, expressed his hatred in writings found at his house and on his body after the Oct. 9 shooting at the federal courthouse in Wheeling, U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld said during a news conference.
Ihlenfeld said the writings did not target any individual or agency, but he declined to provide details.
"I don't think he deserves a platform to express his ideas," he said.
Piccard was fatally shot by law enforcement after he stood across a street from the courthouse and began firing. Ihlenfeld said Piccard fired 23 shots from an assault rifle and three rounds from a 9mm handgun.
While federal authorities are not discussing Piccard's specific motive, Ihlenfeld said his hatred of the government and his medical problems were two factors that contributed to the shooting.
Piccard had his heart broken by a woman he cared about not long before the shooting, the prosecutor said.
Piccard had legally bought the assault rifle six days before the shooting. The handgun had been legally purchased two years ago. Piccard cleared instant background checks for both purchases, and nothing about the weapons was unusual, Ihlenfeld said.
Nothing in Piccard's writings indicated that he planned or wanted to die, he said.