Friends say they had no inkling of the rage tormenting a man believed to have deliberately crashed a small plane Thursday into an Internal Revenue Service building.
Joe Stack, who federal officials say flew his Piper Cherokee PA-28 into an IRS office, was carefree, friendly and professional, the former friends said.
“He was a regular, easygoing Joe,” said Billy Eli, in whose band Stack played bass until a few years ago.
But an apparent suicide message left on a Web site registered to Stack shows a different side: a man extremely angry at the IRS and more than 20 other entities he believed had been hurting him for a long time.
“He hid that very well,” Eli said. “Obviously he was in some serious distress and had some real despair. I never saw that.”
Another former band mate, Ric Furley, expressed a similar sentiment.
“I never saw him in a bad mood or speaking negatively about anything or anyone,” Furley told CNN’s “American Morning.”
A former FBI profiler said Stack, 53, apparently had been nursing pain for quite a while.
“He was a wound collector,” said Joe Navarro, a 25-year FBI veteran. But those wounds, Navarro said, may not have been evident.
“Unfortunately, what goes on in the mind often remains there,” Navarro said, also on “American Morning.”
The observations into Stack’s psyche came as investigators continued to try to piece together what happened Thursday.
Two bodies recovered late Thursday remained publicly unidentified Friday.
Two other people were seriously injured and taken to a hospital, while 11 others were treated for minor injuries, Austin police Chief Art Acevedo said Thursday.
The two injured victims, both males, were taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge, according to Matilda Sanchez, a spokeswoman for Seton Family of Hospitals, which runs the medical center.
One patient was treated and released, Sanchez said. The other was transferred to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio in serious but stable condition with burns over 20 to 25 percent of his body, mostly on his back, she said.
The plane crashed into the front of a seven-story building in the Echelon complex in northwest Austin around 10 a.m. The IRS in Dallas, Texas, told CNN that the building is a federal IRS field office with 199 employees.
The 3,000-word online message believed to have been written by Stack rails against the government, particularly the IRS.
“I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different,” the online message says. “I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.”
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