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Parents of Pentagon gunman sought a mental-health hold for their son, sheriff in California says [Updated]

John-Patrick-Bedell-Photo The parents of the man shot to death after pulling a gun on Pentagon police guards Thursday had reported him missing in January and asked local authorities to hold him, concerned about his mental health.

[Updated at 12:48 p.m.: The family of the gunman, John Patrick Bedell, released the following statement Friday, according to the Hollister (Calif.) Free Lance:

"We are devastated as a family by the news from yesterday. To the outside world, this tragedy is the first and only thing they will know of Patrick. To us, he was a beloved son, brother, grandson, nephew, and cousin. We may never know why he made this terrible decision. One thing is clear though -- his actions were caused by an illness and not a defective character.

"We wish for the speedy and complete recovery of the two officers involved. The family asks that you respect their privacy in this terrible time."]

The parents of Bedell, 36, of Hollister filed a missing-person report on Jan. 4, said San Benito County Sheriff Curtis Hill.

Hill said the report stemmed from a call the family received from a Texas state trooper on Jan. 3. The trooper said he had stopped their son for speeding on a freeway heading west outside Amarillo, Hill said.

The trooper used Bedell’s cellphone to call Bedell’s parents, apparently trying to determine whether there was sufficient cause for a mental-health hold on Bedell.

“There’s an inference in [the report] that he was concerned about his mental health,” Hill said.

It’s unclear what Bedell’s mother told the trooper. Apparently finding no cause to hold Bedell, the trooper let him go, Hill said.

Hill said Bedell’s mother called San Benito County sheriff’s deputies the next day to report her son missing and to ask for a mental-health hold in the event he was located. Deputies went to the Bedell house later. By then, his mother said, he had returned home, but she told deputies she couldn’t find him.

The missing-person case remained open until Jan. 18, when deputies returned to the Bedell home. His father told them he’d returned and to cancel the missing-person report, which they did, Hill said.

[Updated at 12:34 p.m.: In the San Benito County sheriff’s Jan. 4 missing-person report, Bedell’s father said Patrick and Patrick's brother had been in an argument about three weeks before. The father said he had not seen Patrick since Dec. 30. His son, he said, had been living and working in San Jose, but he didn’t know where.

According to the report, the Texas state trooper told Bedell’s mother, Karen, that he was concerned for her son's mental health because his car appeared to be in disarray. He said that Bedell had told him he was on his way to the East Coast.

Bedell’s mother told the officer that he was OK, according to the report. She spoke briefly with her son, who said he was OK.

The father told San Benito County deputies that he was concerned for his son’s safety. He said Bedell had a medical marijuana card, had been detained for mental evaluation before and had no friends or relatives on the East Coast.

On January 18, deputies returned to the Bedell home. Bedell’s father said his son had returned a few days before, and asked his parents “not to ask him any questions about where he was,” according to the report. Deputies removed his name from the missing-persons database.]

In 2006, Orange County court records show, Bedell was arrested and charged with cultivating marijuana and resisting arrest. The marijuana charge was later dropped and he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of resisting arrest. He served three years' probation, which ended in August, and for which he did Caltrans community service, according to court records.

[Updated at 1:26 p.m. Irvine police arrested Bedell at his apartment on Amherst Aisle after neighbors reported him growing marijuana on a balcony.

Seeing the plants, officers obtained a search warrant for his apartment. Four days later, they returned and found 16 marijuana plants, along with an irrigation system, lights and other growing equipment. Bedell was alone in the apartment, according to the police report, and was arrested. He refused to leave under his own power and officers had to carry him to the patrol car.

Officers confiscated cards listing his name and a business, One Gram Cannabis, said Irvine police Lt. Henry Boggs.]

Bedell had recently attended San Jose State University as a graduate student, studying electrical engineering, said Pat Harris, university spokeswoman. He’d enrolled in courses in the fall of 2008 through fall of 2009, she said. He hadn’t enrolled for the 2010 spring semester, but “he was a student in good standing. He was not on academic probation” nor did he have a criminal record at the university, Harris said.

--Sam Quinones

Related: A troubled path to Pentagon -- The man who died trying to blast his way into the military complex had been mentally ill for years

Photo: John Patrick Bedell

Credit: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Comments () | Archives (13)

Such sweet eyes~~ Rest in peace~~

The officers were very fortunate.

Sweet eyes? Haha. Crazy people, murderers and would be murderers so often do...

Rest in peace, nope, rest in hell.

This raises an important issue about how law enforcement views the mentally ill. The trooper appears to have been on the situation, but, for whatever reason, the mother may have underestimated her son's behavior. Having been through this with a friend who is mentally ill, although not subject to violence, I've been in a situation with law enforcement who did not take my pleas re. my friend's being off his meds and delusional. It took constant phone calling, an intervention, etc. Even then, he was released on his own still without proper treatment only to end up being arrested and finally taken in by the hospital for proper treatment. There needs to be training at every level of law enforcement about handling the communications between family and friends of those who are mentally ill and taking the word of these people more seriously.

Another medical marijuana freak-out. Now there's a shocker!!

@Pete - Ya. They need to issue crystal balls to all cops so they can tell the people who are just weird from the people with mental issues.

Kudos to the family for notifying LE about their suspicions and doing the right thing. Condolences to them as well--no one wants to bury a family member, child, brother, especially under these types of circumstances. Hoping that the officers recover fully.

where were the relatives who knew his "condition"?

I said it before, we need gun control for liberals, they are to mentally unstable

Cal...How many med marijuana freakouts have you seen or heard of. Watching Reefer Madness? Sounds like this guy had deeper problems than just marijuana AND access to guns. Where did he get the gun??

This guy did something bad , BUT MENTAL ILLNESS is ONE STEP AWAY FROM ALL OF US.
The parents tried to do something WHAT could anybody do more than what they did to try to reach out.
The authorities sure are not watching out for us. LOOK at the hundreds of stories of people let out of prison by bad judgements and then kill again and again.
There is not a very good system set up for the mentally ill and with the economy down and budget cuts all over. the most needy are going to be left more needy than ever before.
when it starts to have problems ... whether by a self induced reason or not!
Mental illness needs to be dealt with in more effective ways.
This is a serious thing.
Obviously after reading hundreds of stories of people doing awful things because they have something wrong in the brain.
Sad for both parties.

@ kuru: where were the relatives who knew his "condition"?
Posted by: kuruc | March 05, 2010 at 02:34 PM

Are you serious or you haven't read the article??


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