Alleged gunmen share similarities
Haq, Huff called loners, desperately wanted to fit in
By SCOTT GUTIERREZ
They came from vastly different backgrounds.
But Naveed Haq, accused of killing one woman and wounding five others in the Jewish Federation offices on Friday, shared several similarities with the man who targeted Seattle's rave community earlier this year in a mass slaying on Capitol Hill.
In March, Kyle Huff, 28, armed himself with several weapons and blasted his way through an after-hours house party, killing six people, wounding two others and then turning his shotgun on himself. A letter apparently penned by Huff and found after his death described his mission to stand up against what he saw as a rave culture that was corrupting the world.
Huff was a pizza deliveryman from Montana who wore long hair. Haq lived in the Tri-Cities and held an engineering degree. He was born to Pakistani parents and raised under Islam.
But both men had trouble staying employed, meeting friends or girlfriends and have been described as loners or outcasts who desperately wanted to fit in.
Haq, who reportedly battled mental illness and had expressed frustrations about his life to friends, may have been at a low just as the conflict between Israel and Lebanon erupted, giving him something to blame. Haq declared during his assault that he was a Muslim American angry at Israel.
A panel commissioned by the Seattle Police Department analyzed Huff's case and reached a conclusion that Huff may have channeled frustrations about his life into a sudden fixation with the rave scene, in which he initially sought out companionship.
"If you're employed and you have friends and are doing well, these types of issues don't get to you the same. Everybody's lives have good stuff and bad stuff and hopefully the good things outweigh the bad," said James Alan Fox, a criminal justice professor at Northeastern University who led the panel looking at Huff and whose research specializes in mass murders.
Haq, who was not described by others as a devout Muslim, suddenly had a political agenda with the conflict in Lebanon and Israel, Fox said.
"This war happened now. Six months ago, (Haq) may have had a lot of issues in his life, but he didn't have this precipitant -- this war in the Middle East to get him all riled up," Fox said.
On Monday, family and friends gathered to remember Pam Waechter, who was killed in Friday's shooting spree. Five of the victims still were hospitalized. Two, Layla Bush and Christina Rexroad, were in serious condition in intensive care at Harborview Medical Center. Another, Cheryl Stumbo, had improved to satisfactory condition, the hospital reported.
There was no word on the conditions of Danya Klein and Carol Goldman.
Haq remained in custody Monday with bail set at $50 million. Prosecutors still are reviewing his case and expect to file charges Wednesday.
His parents, Mian and Nahida, said through an attorney that they "could not have imagined for a moment that our son would do this senseless act. This is utterly contrary to our beliefs and Islamic values. We have always believed and practiced in fostering love, peace and harmony with everyone, irrespective of religion, race and ethnicity."
Unlike Huff, who shot himself when a Seattle police officer confronted him, Haq surrendered to police after speaking with 911 dispatchers.
"Not everyone has the nerve to kill themselves. And he may also feel in his head or mind that he can rant and rave from a jail cell or witness stand a lot more effectively than from the grave," Fox said.
Over the past few years, Haq reportedly struggled with mental illness and an inability to find his own identity. Although he had a degree, he bounced between unskilled jobs.
Despite his Islamic upbringing, he studied the Bible and was baptized in a Christian church last year. His erratic behavior, and the shooting rampage, left friends grasping for answers
Haq's criminal record has no serious convictions, although he was charged recently in Kennewick with lewd conduct.
His attorney on that case, Larry Stephenson, said Monday that Haq had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a condition marked by drastic mood and behavioral swings, and had been taking medication.
"His parents have tried real hard to help him, make sure he's taking his medication," he said.
Stephenson said Haq's mother urged her son last week not to go to Seattle. He'd had bad luck in Seattle and she wanted to keep tabs on him.
"It's every parent's nightmare to have this happen, when your son is mentally ill. They've spent a small fortune helping him get OK, all to no avail," Stephenson said.
Bipolar disorder affects one-half to 1 percent of the general population and is much less common and more likely to be disabling than depression, said Wayne Katon, a psychiatry professor at the University of Washington.
Bipolar patients typically hit highs that can last for days when they feel on top of the world, like they can accomplish anything.
But at their low point of the cycle, they become depressed, agitated and often begin to feel hopeless and helpless, like the world is coming to end, Katon said. Most patients seek treatment because they can't endure the low part of the cycle.
He said people with bipolar disorder can become delusional, believing they are the U.S. president or Jesus Christ. Their behavior sometimes leads to encounters with police, but rarely is the disorder associated with this type of crime, he said.
"It's very, very unusual for bipolars to be killing anybody, let alone five or six people. Data would suggest that in terms of violence, the homicide rate of bipolars is lower than the general population," he said.
"The truth is we don't understand this kind of behavior in people," he said. "It could be bipolar (disorder) is one element of this, but it's probably not the only element."