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Authorities give update on Federal Building shooting

Updated: Thursday, October 31 2013, 04:28 PM EDT

By: NEWS9 and The Associated Press

A prosecutor says a former police officer who opened fire on the federal building in Wheeling expressed hatred for the federal government in writings found at his home and on his body.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld said Thursday that 55-year-old Thomas J. Piccard expressed his hatred in writings found after the Oct. 9 shooting.

At a hospital, a five-page letter was found on Piccard’s person. Investigators did not go into much detail about the letter, but Piccard had a "deep hatred for the government."

Ihlenfeld said Piccard's hatred of the government was one of three factors that contributed to the shooting.

"Number 1:  The writing found on him at the hospital indicated that he had a de-patriot for the government. Number 2: He recently had his heart broken by a woman who he cared about. And Number 3: He also appeared to have medical problems based upon what the autopsy revealed and what friends and associates advised investigators,” Ihlenfeld said.

Piccard fired a total of 26 shots at the federal building. Ihlenfeld says Piccard fired 23 rounds from a 7.62 assault rifle and three rounds from a Glock 9 mm handgun.

Ihlenfeld said investigators do not believe Piccard was targeting anyone but said, when court security officers heard gunshots and went to the window to see what was going on, the glass in front of them was shattered and bullets missed them by inches.

He said he is not sure if Piccard saw the security officers at the window and shot at them, or if that’s where Piccard’s firearm was spraying bullets.

Law enforcement officers fatally shot Piccard after he fired at the courthouse. An autopsy found that Piccard had gunshot wounds to his arm, heart and lungs.

Authorities give update on Federal Building shooting

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