A disgruntled software engineer, smashed his small plane into a seven-storey tax office building in Texas in a kamikaze-style attack, killing one person and leaving 13 others injured, police said on Friday.
Joseph Andrew Stack, who was furious at the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), crashed his small plane into the building in Austin, Texas housing nearly 200 federal tax employees, igniting a raging fire that sent workers running for their lives.
The suicide attack left one person dead and 13 injured inside the Austin building. Stack, 53, who crashed the Piper Dakota into the building, was also confirmed dead.
The incident was described as an intentional assault on a U.S. government institution, but authorities have said the crash did not appear to have any terror links.
“This appears to be an intentional act by a sole individual and it appears this individual was targeting federal offices in that building,” Austin police chief Art Acevedo told reporters.
ighter jets scrambled over the building following the incident that brought back shocking memories of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
A U.S. law official said investigators were looking at a lengthy, anti-government “manifesto,” Stack is believed to have written on his website. The message outlines problems with the IRS and says violence “is the only answer“.
The site is titled, “Well Mr Big Brother IRS man ... take my pound of flesh and sleep well.”
The note and other documents indicate Stack moved from California to Austin after the dotcom bust. Calls to the accountant and Stack’s ex-wife were not immediately returned.
Austin police declined to discuss the house fire and Internet manifesto.
About 190 IRS employees work at 9420 Research Boulevard, the building that Stack crashed into on Thursday.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the incident.
Police said the situation was “totally contained.” “This is an isolated incident, there is no cause for alarm,” a spokesman for the Austin Police Department said.
The structure houses private firms and government offices, including the IRS’ criminal investigation unit. It was heavily damaged, particularly the second and third floors. Officials said the IRS occupies the lower part of the building.
IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman released a statement saying the agency is still in the process of accounting for all of the agency’s 190 employees. “We are working with law enforcement agencies to fully investigate the events that led up to this plane crash,” the statement read.
Peggy Walker, an IRS revenue officer who works in the building told local media that she was sitting at her desk when the plane crashed. “It felt like a bomb blew off. The ceiling caved in and windows blew in. We got up and ran,” she said.