On the surface, yesterday's murderous rampage in Kirkwood, Mo., looks to be just another in a series of seemingly anomalous incidents in which a mentally disturbed man with a gun mows down some group of unsuspecting victims:
- Charles Lee Thornton used two weapons in a deadly shooting rampage at a City Council meeting in a St. Louis suburb Thursday night, police said, disclosing new details about the attack at a news conference Friday morning.
A crime scene tape at Kirkwood City Hall in Missouri, where a gunman killed two police officers and three city officials on Thursday night.
The first of the five people killed, a police officer outside the building, was shot with a large-caliber revolver and then stripped of his weapon, said Tracy Panus, spokeswoman for the St. Louis County Police Department.
The suspect then proceeded to the council chamber armed with both guns.
Kirkwood, Missouri, was in mourning Friday, with flags flying at half staff at schools and prayer services and vigils planned throughout the day.
Mr. Thornton was shot and killed by police after the five people were killed at the start of a council session in Kirkwood. Two others were wounded, including Mayor Mike Swoboda, who was in critical condition Friday and going into surgery.
But there may have been more going on than mere mental illness:
- As the county mourned, the suspect’s brother, Gerald Thornton, defended the assault during several interviews.
“My brother went to war tonight with the government,” Gerald Thornton said in an interview with a local television station after the incident. “He decided that he could no longer verbally work it out.”
In another interview, he emphasized “that this was not a random rampage.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has more on this:
- The gunman who opened fire on a Kirkwood City Council meeting left a one-line note for his brother before the shootings, which said: "The Truth will win in the end."
Charles Lee "Cookie" Thornton left the unsigned note on a bed in a bedroom of the house where they both were living, and Gerald Thornton found it after the shooting rampage Thursday night that left two police officers, three city officials and the gunman dead.
... The gunmans' brother, Gerald Thornton, reiterated today that his brother believed he was "going to war" with a city that did not respect his rights.
"I knew a lot, because my brother talked to me about it," he said.
It's looking like yet another anti-government zealot gone berserk in the mold of Marvin Heemeyer and Carl Drega. As we've noted before, these cases have a propensity to be remade into martyrdom incidents for right-wing extremists.