Final charge dropped against man who heard voices telling him to shoot up school

By Stephen Betts | Aug 15, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts Brandon Luzzi, right, is pictured at a January court hearing. The final charge against him was dismissed Thursday, Aug. 15.

Rockland — The final charge was dismissed Thursday, Aug. 15, against a 62-year-old Rockland man who caused a Rockland-area school lockdown in May 2018, when he told a friend that voices in his head were telling him to shoot up a school.

The misdemeanor terrorizing charge against Brandon M. Luzzi was dismissed in Knox County Court. A felony terrorizing charge was dismissed in January, when he reached a deferred disposition with the District Attorney's Office.

Luzzi met the conditions of that agreement by receiving mental health treatment.

In January, Justice Bruce Mallonee praised the two sides for focusing on treating Luzzi's mental health condition, rather than trying to win the case at trial.

Luzzi's attorney, Michael Harman, said at the Aug. 15 hearing that case had received considerable public attention and praised the Rockland Police Department and the District Attorney's Office for showing a high degree of understanding. He said he wanted to commend the agencies.

Judge Paul Mathews recommended that Harman send a letter to the police department, thanking it for how the case was handled.

In January, then-Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Baroody said the agreement followed the policy of new District Attorney Natasha Irving on getting treatment for people with mental illnesses who are charged with crimes.

Baroody had said Luzzi was in an entirely different place mentally than he was in May 2018, when the incident occurred.

Luzzi had been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric treatment facility by the court, and will be prohibited from possessing firearms.

Harman had said in January that Luzzi was diagnosed with auditory canal hallucinations. He added that the mental heath review said there was a possibility he was also experiencing early onset dementia.

The agreement allows Luzzi to return to his home on Thomaston Street across from  South Elementary School, which serves pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade classes, and Regional School Unit 13 athletic fields.

But Harman said in January that Luzzi plans to continue living in Oxford County with a friend, where he has been staying since being released from Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta

Luzzi had worked as a tugboat captain.

Baroody said in January he had been in contact with the superintendent of RSU 13, and that he was in general support of the agreement.

Rockland police received a telephone call May 29, 2018, from a woman from out of state who is an acquaintance of Luzzi's. She said he had called her and said he heard voices telling him to do a school shooting. The woman told police that Luzzi was a hunter and had access to guns.

The Rockland Police Department immediately sent officers and was assisted by Knox County Sheriff's Office deputies, who went to South School, Oceanside High School and the Mid-Coast School of Technology, all in Rockland.

Police seized eight guns -- including high-powered rifles and a flare gun -- and ammunition for the weapons from Luzzi's Thomaston Street home.

An affidavit filed by Rockland police with the court for a search warrant and later an arrest warrant stated that Rockland Officer John Bagley went to Luzzi's residence and Luzzi admitted he was hearing voices telling him to shoot up the school, but said that, "he is able to keep the voices at bay and is of no harm to anyone."

Luzzi acknowledged that he had at least one hunting rifle in his residence, according to the police report.

The Rockland man then attempted to enter his home and was taken into custody after a brief struggle, according to the affidavit.

Luzzi has no criminal record.

Luzzi spoke briefly during the January hearing and said the treatment at Riverview was marvelous. He also told the judge that a quarter of young males suffer from some sort of mental illness.

The Aug. 15 hearing lasted only a few minutes.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Deborah Clarisse Morrison | Aug 16, 2019 09:01

Odd turn of events if this whole story is true.  The man hears voices and calls a friend....the friend calls police....police go and safely take the guy in and get him treatment, plus the guns are taken away.    I fail to see the crime.  Maybe resisting arrest, but he was in a poor state at the time and having your house surrounded with police will kind of get you more upset.

This smacks of everyone trying to show credit for how they saved us from another Newtown when in fact, it was the would be shooter who did the right thing.  Asking for help and putting yourself out there is a hard thing to do and he and the person he called, together, made the correct decision.

This court system here seems turned around.  Guilty parties get light or suspended sentences and the innocent get charged for something they didn't do.

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