TWU threat suspect says he is not a terrorist

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by SHELLY SLATER

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaashelly

WFAA

Posted on March 2, 2011 at 7:30 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 2 at 11:10 PM

DENTON — An Army veteran whose remarks led to a 90-minute lockdown on the Texas Woman's University campus in Denton on Tuesday is now speaking out from behind bars.

Police said Christopher Gillette made threatening remarks, prompting the emergency action.

"What I basically said is that I'm extremely angry; I have specific military training; and I feel like tearing Washington down brick-by-brick," Gillette told News 8.

Following his remarks, security officers swept the TWU campus, fearing a man with a gun could do harm.

But they found neither Gillette nor any sign of danger in Denton.

What they did find was a man, upset with the government, who had driven himself to the VA hospital in Dallas.

Gillette complained about his medical treatment as a veteran, and that is just part of what he conveyed to News 8 in an interview Wednesday at the Denton County Jail.

Gillette says he is not a terrorist, but that the government is failing our veterans.

For that, he is angry... very angry.

He said he has thoughts of trying to overthrow a government that he calls "incompetent."

He said he has major back and pelvic pain from his time in uniform, and that he mouthed off in class on Tuesday because he hurt too much.

"I think the medical care and support I have received from the Department of Veterans Affairs borders on criminal negligence," Gillette said.

The Army veteran and former member of the National Guard apologizes for the TWU lockdown. Gillette said he wasn't going to hurt students; his anger is directed at the federal government.

"What I basically said is that I'm extremely angry; I have specific military training; and I feel like tearing Washington down brick-by-brick," he said.

And how does Gillette plan to do that?

"The next step is a line a don't want to cross," he said. "Once I cross that line, I can't go back from it, and they can't back from it, either."

Gillette was asked if that means violence.

"I don't know what it means. It might mean civil war ... violence is a part of war. That's understandable," he said. "I don't know if I need to get armed people and arrest the Congress; I don't know what I need to do, but I'm in pain and I need help."

Gillette maintains that he is mentally stable.

After leaving class on Tuesday, he called his congressman's office and then proceeded to the VA clinic in Dallas.

Gillette doesn't understand the response to his words on Tuesday.

"I think they freaked out," he said. "I understand why there is a link [to terrorism,] but look — those girls are safer with me on campus than without me."

Gillette claims he has no guns, and he has no criminal record.

He said he is okay with what he calls "controlled military action" against the government.

Gillette's father told News 8 his son is just frustrated that he feels ignored after putting his life on the line for this country.

E-mail sslater@wfaa.com

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