HOUSTON (Reuters) - A man who caused a panic when he fired a Glock semi-automatic pistol in the air at a busy Houston airport terminal and then killed himself, left a suicide note that spoke of “the monster within me,” police said on Friday.
Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland said the dead man, identified as Carnell Moore, was intent only on killing himself. The incident could have been much worse if he had turned the gun on passengers Thursday afternoon at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
“We are very, very fortunate that the individual suspect did not injure or kill any other victims,” McClelland said.
Houston police described Moore’s strange behavior leading up to the shooting, beginning on Tuesday when he made romantic advances toward a woman at the apartment complex were he worked as a janitor in Beaumont, Texas.
“He, in effect, kidnapped her at gunpoint and wanted her to take him to Houston,” said Phil Waters, a Houston homicide detective.
She talked him out of harming her and he released her, police said.
Moore then drove his pickup truck to Houston and checked into a hotel, posting messages on Facebook about a “final act” that would happen on Thursday, police said.
On Thursday at around noon, he drove his pickup truck to the Terminal B passenger pickup area, got a suitcase out of the bed of the truck and walked into the terminal. The black suitcase contained a second loaded gun, a type of AR-15, sometimes referred to as an assault weapon, the suicide note and a Gideon Bible taken from the hotel room, police said.
He sat in a chair inside the terminal by the United Airlines ticket counter and near a Starbuck’s coffee kiosk for a while, then drew his pistol and fired twice in the air. A Homeland Security agent confronted him and fired his gun.
Moore was shot in the shoulder, which police believe to be from the security agent’s gun.
“The fatal wound is a wound to his temple where...the wound has what we call tattooing, which is almost like a branding,” Houston police Sergeant Brian Harris said. That wound was consistent with being self-inflicted, he said.
The suicide note said Moore did not want to hurt anyone else, police said.
His brother was quoted as telling investigators that Moore was mentally ill, although police said they have no documented proof of treatment.
The shooting terrified passengers, who dived for cover and ran from the scene. The terminal was locked down and the Federal Aviation Administration issued a “ground stop” halting flights in and out for a period of time.
Reporting By Amanda Orr; Writing by Greg McCune; Editing by L Gevirtz