IN THE LINE OF FIRE: Documents reveal Sharp’s possible motives, preparation for attack — (McKinney Courier-Gazette)

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McKinney Courier-Gazette

By Danny Gallagher, dgallagher@acnpapers.com

Published: Saturday, May 28, 2011 2:30 AM CDT

The First of a Three Part Series on the 2010 McKinney Public Safety Building Attack: the Anna man who opened fire on the McKinney PSB building left chilling messages before the shooting including Facebook posts, a fridge note for police and a fake Anthrax letter.

Every year, the McKinney Police and Fire Departments commemorate the lives lost and public safety officers, firefighters and paramedics who gave their lives responding to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

The somber, solemn services feature heartfelt words of compassion, empathy and wisdom from McKinney Police Chief Doug Kowalski and Fire Chief Mark Wallace, an honorary fire bell ringing for fallen firefighters and a traditional 21-gun salute for police officers.

Photo obtained from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) – Patrick Gray Sharp left a note for police on the refrigerator of his Anna home before he opened fire on the McKinney Public Safety Building in August of 2010. Search crews did not find any cadavers on the nearby property.

The ceremony on Sept. 11, 2010 carried that same somber tone, but with a more local scope. McKinney was no longer just honoring the dedicated public safety personnel who risked their lives on that fateful day in 2001. They were honoring some of their own, officers and firefighters who found themselves in the line of fire by a deranged gunman trying to commit, as Kowalski put it at an press conference, “suicide-by-cop.”

“This was clearly a terrorist attack that targeted members of the police and fire department,” McKinney Police Chief Doug Kowalski said at the memorial service before a crowd of police and fire personnel and local citizens standing in the shadow of Craig Ranch. “And just like 9/11, these people rushed in while others rushed away.”

The attack was committed by Patrick Grey Sharp, a 29-year-old security guard, from Anna who drove his Ford F150 pickup truck to the McKinney Public Safety Building on Taylor-Burk Drive, a street named after two McKinney police officers Ray Burk and Marion E. Taylor who gave their lives in the line of duty, on the morning of Aug. 17, 2010 and parked it in the building’s main parking lot. He set the vehicle on fire and opened fire on the officers and firefighters who responded to the blaze. A tense shootout ended when one of the officers hit Sharp in the arm and Sharp took his own life in a wooded area across the street from the department.

Police were baffled by Sharp’s actions or why he specifically targeted the McKinney Public Safety Building, even after Texas Rangers, a division of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), conducted an investigation into the shooting led by Ranger A.P. Davidson.

Some of the post-incident reports, obtained by the McKinney Courier-Gazette through an open records request with the DPS’ main office in Austin, paint Sharp as a psychotically depressed individual suffering from dreams of violent fantasies and a love for guns.

Sharp’s father, Randy who was at the scene of the shooting after hearing the news and fearing his son might have been involved, told Davidson that Patrick had a long history of mental illness and psychological evaluations, dating back to when he was just 9-years-old. Medical documents provided by Randy Sharp to the Texas Rangers showed that his son had been referred for psychological testing by his high school in San Antonio after he “threatened to harm one of his teachers,” according to the DPS investigation report.

He had been prescribed Ritalin, Wellbutrin and Paxil to treat his psychological disorders but [these drugs] did little to improve his mental well-being. A brain scan revealed some sort of unidentified “abnormality” and a psychiatrist who had taken him under his care noted that Patrick would experience hallucinations, blackouts, uncontrollable thoughts and “fantasies of death and violent thoughts towards others,” according to the report.

Patrick took a job with a private security firm in 2002 that assigned him to a post at the Encore Wire facility on Millwood Road. Encore hired him in 2005 as a plainclothes courtesy officer. His supervisor, Jackie Collinsworth, described him as “punctual and reliable,” according to the report.

Patrick also shared a home in Anna with a fellow employee, Eric McClellan, who was in Pennsylvania at the time of the shooting. McClellan told police that he was surprised about Sharp’s behavior but noted he had expressed violent fantasies and described him as being “‘a little off’ but never to this extreme,” the report said.

McClellan told Davidson that Patrick often talked about the movie “Heat” starring Robert DeNiro and about his desire to rob a bank himself, even suggesting a bank in Tom Bean “going in with guns blazing.” He also talked about how the sliding glass window on the back of his truck would be an ideal method of firing at anyone who pursued him.

He also said Patrick had said on more than one occasion that he fantasized about abducting and raping a female jogger.

“It was (Patrick) Sharp’s fantasy to buy a van and pull alongside a female jogger, stop, slide open the side door and pull her inside,” the report said detailing an interview with McClellan. “After raping her, Sharp talked about dumping the girl’s body somewhere in a secluded area. McClellan did not believe Sharp ever actually acted out the fantasy.”

The morning of the shooting, Collingsworth received a call from Sharp informing her that he wanted to quit. Sharp would not tell her his reason for leaving except that he “planned to do something stupid” and that she “would hear about it later.”

Patrick also had extensive conversations with friends he met on Facebook and other social networking sites, including some young girls. McClelland told investigators Patrick befriended a 16-year-old girl named Lisa over the Internet. The two had extensive text and Facebook message conversations up until the day of the shooting.

The girl’s parents had found out the two were communicating and ordered that she cease contacting him due to his age. Patrick’s brother, Jeremy, sent him a text of concern about his behavior and that he didn’t want to see him get “caught on some show that catches perverts trying to date jail bait.”

“Lol,” Patrick replied. “I wouldn’t worry bout (sic) me, I’m gonna leave here soon.’

Lisa broke off their relationship but the conversations continued, up until his attack and eventual suicide.

“Can you please please please please promise me about tomorrow,” Lisa wrote, “I’ll do whatever it takes for you not to go through with it.”

Patrick had suggested shooting up a police station as a preferred method of his suicide but noted, “I don’t hurt innocent people. I wasn’t gonna be a [expletive deleted] and go shoot women and children at a mall. I was gonna go to the police and shoot at them. I’m not afraid to die.”

The only time he specifically mentioned the McKinney Public Safety Building as a target is in another text message to Lisa where he mentions a McKinney police detective by name and says he is someone he’d “like to injure. He doesn’t deserve to die.”

Patrick claimed the detective left him waiting in an interrogation room for four hours after he reported an on-the-job assault at Encore in 2006. McKinney Assistant Police Chief Randy Roland said Patrick was a witness in the incident but the events regarding the detective “didn’t happen.”

Patrick continued posting messages on various social networking sites up until the morning of the shooting. His Facebook account featured comments such as “I’m so relaxed it’s funny. I thought I’d be nervous” and “Goodbye everyone. I’m exodus” followed by a photo taken of himself in Kevlar and holding a high-powered rifle.

“I’m out for good y’all,” he wrote on his Mocospace page. “[expletive deleted] all my haters. I’m packed and ready to go. My last meal was White Castle cheeseburgers and a Dr. Pepper….Lisa, thanks for the good times. I love you more.”

Investigators learned after the shooting that Patrick had placed a note on his refrigerator that read “For police: Two of my victims are burried (sic) at the foot of the hand that looks like a tree.” Lewisville Fire explosive detector canines and a “Search One Rescue Team” dog did a sweep of the area and found no cadavers.

Two days after the shooting, inspectors from the U.S. Postal Service told Texas Rangers that Patrick had sent a Netflix movie rental back to the company’s distributor center with a mysterious powder in the envelope and wrote “Here, have some anthrax! Die [expletive deleted] die!” on the DVD’s cover. The powder was not toxic and discovered to be calcium carbonate.

Lisa also spoke with investigators following the shooting and said she had spoken to Patrick on the phone on the day of the incident. She said he never spoke about his plans to ambush the building, except in text messages and he refused to say why he wanted to open fire on the building.

“(Patrick) Sharp only said he had his reasons and began repeating that he was crazy,” the report read detailing Davidson’s interview with the girl. “Lisa could hear the blaring of the car horn and gunshots.”

Part two of this three part series on the McKinney Public Safety Building shooting will run in next Sunday’s edition of the McKinney Courier-Gazette.