Criminal Justice

Ex-cop was furious at feds, sick and brokenhearted when he shot up courthouse, US Attorney says

  • Print.

A search of the home of a onetime Wheeling, W. Va., police officer after he fired 23 rounds from an assault rifle at a federal courthouse there earlier this month revealed more about his motivation for the attack.

Writings there and other documents found on his person at a hospital revealed that Thomas Piccard hated the government, was sick and had recently “had his heart broken” by a woman, said U.S. Attorney Bill Ihlenfield at a Thursday press conference, according to the Associated Press and Metro News.

The 55-year-old Piccard, whose last name was given as Picard in earlier news reports, was killed by authorities responding to the Oct. 9 courthouse attack. No one else was killed, although two security officers were cut by shattered glass.

Ihlenfeld said Piccard legally purchased a Romanian assault rifle and ammunition used in the courthouse shooting six days beforehand from a firearms dealer in Wheeling. A pistol from which he fired three rounds was purchased legally a couple of years ago from a dealer, the Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register reports.

Ihlenfeld declined to specify why exactly Piccard was angry with the federal government or whether he was targeting any individuals, saying: “I don’t think he’s entitled to or deserves a platform to express his thoughts or ideas.”

See also: “Gunman fires AK-47 at federal courthouse, is shot to death”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.