Army officials knew a distraught and AWOL soldier recently back from Afghanistan was headed to Utah with ammunition, weapons and a grudge but didn't warn local authorities, a newspaper reported.
Army Spc. Brandon Barrett was wearing body armor and military fatigues when he was shot and killed by a Salt Lake City police officer who was wounded in an Aug. 27 shootout at a downtown intersection.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported Tuesday that military records show Army investigators were worried that Barrett might commit a mass shooting.
Barrett was classified as a deserter from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Wash.
The newspaper cited text messages Barrett sent to fellow soldiers warning that he was preparing for death in Utah with "one hell of an argument and about 1,000 rounds to prove my point."
Barrett showed up on video surveillance in an underground parking garage at the Grand America Hotel, where was approached at an elevator by a hotel security officer, Robyn Salmon.
"Excuse me, sir. Can I help you?" she recalled asking.
"I need to go up," Barrett said.
Salmon told the soldier he could not take the elevator to the hotel lobby.
"OK then," Barrett replied. "You better call the police."
Barrett walked out of the garage, where another video camera followed him as he paced back and forth in a parking lot, apparently waiting for a deadly confrontation with police.
He had several encounters with residents around the hotel but didn't seem intent on shooting them, Police Chief Chris Burbank told KSL Radio on Tuesday.
Outside the hotel, Barrett shot a Salt Lake City police officer in the leg during a gunfight that ended when the wounded officer fired back, killing the soldier with a shot to the head.
"This was his only way out," said Burbank.
The chief said the military's failure to notify authorities was understandable. Barrett's random threats didn't convey a specific plan and it wasn't clear if the threats were credible, he said.
Salt Lake City police spokeswoman Lara Jones couldn't immediately explain Tuesday how Barrett arrived at the hotel in the first place or why he came to Utah.
The soldier's brother, Shane Barrett - a Tucson, Ariz., police detective - said Army investigators knew Brandon Barrett was headed to Utah for a violent confrontation but didn't notify authorities. Shane Barrett has been critical of the way the military treated his brother after his return from Afghanistan.
In one message, Shane Barrett told the newspaper, his brother vowed to "make a name for myself"; in another he had told his friends to "watch the news" in Utah.
Joe Kubistek, a spokesman for Lewis-McChord, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he would seek a response from Army officials about the case.
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