Former classmates shocked at Bedell's actions

March 5, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
There is disbelief from friends of the Bay Area man who shot two police officers outside the pentagon. ABC7 is learning more about John Patrick Bedell's increasingly erratic behavior in the weeks leading up to last night's shooting and people in Bedell's hometown of Hollister are shocked that the quirky, quiet man became so violent.

Many doubt whether they actually ever really knew this person. In high school, Bedell was considered a quiet guy on the golf team and now, as Robert Turner looks through his high school yearbook and sees photos of his old friend, he doesn't know what to think.

Bedell shot two military police officers at the pentagon Thursday. They fired back, killing the 36-year-old man.

"As far as the conspiracy theories go, growing up it was about aliens and stuff like that, but I know growing up too he was heavy into politics and the government and stuff like that," says Turner.

In an audio recording Bedell posted online, he expressed growing mistrust of the government. His family had Bedell committed three or four times for mental health treatment. His psychiatrist says he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and tried to self-medicate with marijuana.

When Bedell disappeared in January, his family filed a missing persons report. The day before, on January 3, he'd been pulled over for speeding in Texas. Police there say he was behaving erratically.

A few days later, Bedell's family found out he had made a $600 purchase at a Sacramento gun range.

"They're concerned about what he's doing and what his current mental status is. He has a history of? he has a medical marijuana card, so there's a history of him smoking marijuana," says San Benito County Sheriff Curtis Hill.

All of this comes as a shock to David Parent. He was one of Bedell's electrical engineering professors at San Jose State University. In fact, Bedell was Parents' star pupil.

"He always seemed to be someone who was helpful and this is a complete shock and my heart goes out to his family," says Parent.

The Bedell family has asked for their privacy. The sheriff read this statement on their behalf: "We may never know why he made this terrible decision, one thing is certain though, his actions were caused by an illness and not a defective character."

It is a sentiment felt throughout Hollister. Sadness hangs over the city of 37,000, where it is no longer a question of why, but rather, "How did we not know?"

"We're a close community and a small town and unfortunately, all the families, we all know each other, so it's hard," says high school classmate Ellen Fu.

Through their own grief, Bidell's family is still wishing the two military police officers a speedy recovery.


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