Pentagon shooter lived in Hollister, went to SJSU

March 5, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The Northern California man killed in a shootout with police at the Pentagon had a history of mental illness. His parents reported him missing back in early January. They warned authorities their 36-year-old son might have a gun.

The family of John Patrick Bedell is together at their gated Hollister home asking for privacy. Their neighbors in this close-knit community are in shock. "It's disbelief and sad," said a neighbor.

Thursday night, Bedell shot and wounded two officers at the Pentagon before officers fired back, killing Bedell.

"He walked up very cool, there was no distress, he had no real emotion in his face. When he reached into his pocket they assumed he was going to get a pass and he came out with a gun," said Pentagon Police Chief Richard Keevill.

The family issued a statement through ABC7 News on Friday saying they are devastated by the tragedy and the loss of Bedell. The San Benito County sheriff read from that statement.

"We may never know why he made this terrible decision," said Sheriff Curtis Hill. "One thing is certain though, his actions were caused by an illness and not a defect of character."

A family member told ABC7 News that to the outside world this tragedy is the first and the only thing they will ever know about Bedell, but that the family has lost a much loved son, brother and grandson.

Bedell had been in mental health treatment programs on three or four occasions and the family claims he was addicted to marijuana, but those who knew him also called him gentle and brilliant.

He was a graduate of UC Santa Cruz and attended San Jose State University, most recently this past fall in the graduate electrical engineering department, where he was known as JP.

"He would ask really good questions, which sparked the class into having good questions," said SJSU professor David Parent. "And I just really have fond memories of JP."

Bedell, though, had a growing mistrust of government that was outlined in several Internet blogs and in an audio recording in which he stated, "The economic role of the government must be reexamined in every detail."

Before Thursday's shooting, there were signs of trouble. In January his family had filed a missing person's report and were concerned when they found out he made a $600 purchase at a shooting range in the Sacramento area. The last time they saw him was at their Hollister home on Jan. 18.

"In the exchange in the report it states, 'Hey, I'm here, I'm home, but don't ask me what I've been doing or don't ask me where I've been' -- those kinds of things," said Hill.

Even in the family's grief, they said they wish for a speedy and complete recovery of the two officers involved.


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