The boy who crashed a small propeller plane into a high-rise office building in Tampa, Florida, Saturday was carrying a suicide note expressing sympathy for Osama Bin Laden. But officials say they do not believe the 15-year-old boy, who died in the crash was part of any terrorist group.
At a news conference, Tampa Police Chief Bennie Holder described the boy, identified as Charles Bishop, as a lonely youth bent on a flashy suicide. "From his actions we can assume he was a troubled young man," he said. "Bishop deliberately flew the plane into the building and was killed. During a subsequent investigation, a note was found that belonged to Bishop. Bishop clearly stated that he had acted alone."
Mr. Holder said the note contained expressions of support for fugitive terrorist group leader Osama bin-Laden and the September 11 attacks on America. But the police chief added there is no evidence suggesting a link between the boy and any terrorist group.
Charles Bishop was the only person on board the Cessna airplane, which took out several windows and smashed into an office on the 28th floor of the high-rise. No one else was hurt in the incident, which began when the boy took off from nearby St. Petersburg without clearance. The teenager was taking flying lessons, but was too young for a pilot's license.
The boy's flight path briefly took the plane into the airspace of Macdill Air Force Base, home of the Central Command that is overseeing the US military effort in Afghanistan. A Coast Guard helicopter chased the plane as it flew over downtown Tampa. The co-pilot of the helicopter is quoted as saying it appeared the boy intentionally flew the plane into the building.
The incident bore an eerie resemblance to the attacks of September 11, when commercial jetliners, piloted by suicide hijackers, slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon outside Washington.