Nightly News | March 05, 2010
>>> news" begins now.
>>> good evening. when the call came in, it was a first report of a shooting near a subway stop in a metropolitan area , and sadly, that isn't that unusual in american cities these days. this one, though, just last night, was unusual because it happened outside the pentagon. one man with a gun acting alone. police responded. they were hit. they returned fire. tonight the man is dead, and we've learned enough about his life to raise a lot of questions about what drove him to do what he did. our pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski starts us off this friday night. jim, good evening.
>> reporter: good evening, brian. the suspect, who had a long history of mental problems, came to the attention of lawmen out in california two months ago. but authorities insist there was no real reason to believe he would drive himself here to the pentagon where he wounded two police officers and he himself was killed in a hail of gunfire. the attack occurred long after post pentagon employees had cleared out for the day. the gunman was 36-year-old john patrick bedell of hollister, colorado, described as troubled, disturbed, even deranged. his frequent rants on the internet included various conspiracy theories, claiming, for example, the u.s. government was behind the terrorist attacks on september 11th . in hollister today, sheriff curtis hill told reporters that bedell 's parents had reported their son missing in january and they were concerned about his mental state . but dropped the case after bedell returned home.
>> when the family canceled the missing persons report, anything after that, you'll have to refer to the fbi .
>> reporter: but the fbi says bedell never appeared in their database. in an exclusive interview, pentagon police chief richard keevill said when bedell shot two of his officers he appeared strangely in control.
>> it is hard to tell what would cause a person to snap like this, in addition that he came here prepared to hurt people. he brought a lot of ammunition.
>> reporter: armed with two .9 millimeter pistols, he passed between the two police officers , he suddenly pulled a pistol from his coast, shot one of the guards, then the other, and started running toward the pentagon. although wounded, the two officers turned and fired at least six shots at the suspect. at the same time a third officer also opened fire. the suspect now hit multiple times stumbled over a portable barrier and fell to the ground, fatally wounded . this eyewitness.
>> there was a woman in front of me. i was asking her if she was okay. she was on the ground, and she was crying. and then the -- one of the officers had told me to get down.
>> the decision to use deadly force had to be decisive. in this particular case, it was over in less than a minute.
>> reporter: the two police officers survived with only minor wounds. today, through sheriff hill bedell 's parents issued a statement of remorse for their son's actions.
>> one thing is certain, though, his actions were caused by an illness and not a defective character.
>> reporter: pentagon police and the fbi are convinced tonight that bedell acted alone and there is no indication that this act was an act of terrorism. brian.
>> jim miklaszewski at the pentagon to start us off tonight. jim, thanks.