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Suicidal Teen Pilot Sought Base Maps, FBI Says

June 20, 2003|From Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — Newly released FBI documents say a 15-year-old boy who stole a plane and crashed it into a skyscraper might have originally targeted MacDill Air Force Base in his suicide mission.

An FBI review of Charles Bishop's Internet activity showed that the teen sought maps of the base and information about the facility. He also sent an e-mail to a classmate asking where Central Command was on the base.

Bishop died Jan. 5, 2002, when he flew a Cessna stolen from a flight school into the Bank of America building in downtown Tampa. He left a note expressing sympathy for Osama bin Laden.

The FBI report obtained by the Tampa Tribune said agents initially were concerned that Bishop had made contact with "other young people who might have the propensity to carry out an act of terrorism similar to Bishop's."

"To date, this investigation has not provided any indication that Bishop participated in a concerted effort with other individuals," the FBI report said.

During the suicide flight, Bishop briefly flew over the base, but when Coast Guard helicopters tried to intercept him, he veered off and flew a few miles toward downtown. No one else was hurt in the crash.

Bishop's family blames his suicide on the acne drug Accutane and has sued its makers for $70 million. Hoffmann-La Roche has denied any link between its drug and suicide.

Bishop had e-mailed a friend telling him to watch the news for a story about him, the FBI said.

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