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Maryland 'joker' worked at facility linked to U.S. House mail

July 27, 2012|By Ian Duncan
  • Prince George's County, Md., Police Chief Mark Magaw answers questions at a news conference about a suspect who police say was plotting a workplace shooting.
Prince George's County, Md., Police Chief Mark Magaw answers questions… (Jacquelyn Martin / Associated…)

A Maryland man who police say described himself as “a joker” and threatened to go on a shooting rampage at his former office appears to have worked at a facility that handles security for mail for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Police said they foiled a plot by the man, identified in a search warrant as Neil E. Prescott of Crofton, Md., and raided his home early Friday morning. Officers said they found a cache of 25 guns, including semiautomatic rifles, pistols, shotguns and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

In a phone call with a colleague earlier this week, according to police, the suspect said:  “I’m a joker. I’m going to load my guns and blow everyone up.”

When police initially interviewed the suspect, they said, he was wearing a T-shirt that read:  “Guns don’t kill people, I do.”

A court ordered the suspect committed to a hospital for a mental health evaluation. Police said he has not been arrested.

Pitney Bowes, where the man worked for a subcontractor, was hired by the House in 2001 to check mail after a Senate office was sent anthrax.

Police said their suspect was in the process of being fired from his job at the company.

The search warrant for Prescott’s home says he worked at 9140 East Hampton Blvd. in Capitol Heights. Pitney Bowes operates a facility on East Hampton Drive, which receives mail intended for the Library of Congress and, it appears, the House.

Paul Hofford, operations manager at the  Washington Express courier company, said he believed the facility is run by Pitney Bowes and that it’s used to distribute mail to the House.

Carol Wallace, a spokeswoman for Pitney Bowes, would not confirm whether the facility at which the suspect worked handled mail for the House, but she said in a statement that he had not been on the firm’s property in a number of months.

Prince George’s County Police Chief Mark Magaw said at a news conference that, given the "joker" remarks, the suspect seemed to be referring to last Friday’s mass killing at a showing of the latest Batman movie, “The Dark Night Rises,” in Aurora, Colo. Twelve people were killed and 58 others were injured.

“We think a violent episode was avoided,” Magaw said.

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ian.duncan@latimes.com

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