Mental health evaluation continues for man who spoke of school shooting

By Matt Byrne, Portland Press Herald | Jun 02, 2018
Photo by: From LinkedIn Brandon Luzzi

Rockland — The Rockland man taken into protective custody Tuesday, May 29, after making a threat about shooting up a school is still under evaluation at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport, his mother said.

Brandon Luzzi, 62, of Thomaston Street, was being held Friday while doctors determined whether he is mentally ill and a danger to himself or others, police said. By law, authorities can hold Luzzi for up to 72 hours without taking additional steps to prove why he should be held longer, Rockland Police Chief Bruce Boucher said Wednesday. That makes it likely authorities will have to take some action Saturday if they plan to continue to hold Luzzi.

Police took him into protective custody and transported him to the psychiatric ward at Pen Bay in Rockport after an out-of-state acquaintance of Luzzi called police to say Luzzi told her that he heard voices, and the voices urged him to “do a school shooting.”

Police searched Luzzi’s home and found seven rifles and shotguns and a flare gun, as well as ammunition for the guns. Luzzi’s home is across the street from South Elementary School and the Regional School Unit 13 athletic fields.

Luzzi’s mother, Chevala DeLorenze, spoke with her son by phone for about 20 minutes Thursday night. She said he sounded like himself, but he was doubtful the doctors there could help him.

She also briefly discussed the voices he was hearing. Luzzi told his mother that he believed the voices were coming from some foreign object or device inside his body. However, she said the conversation was otherwise like any other she has had with her son in the past, and that she did not detect anything unusual about his demeanor during the call.

“I think he honestly didn’t think anything was wrong with him mentally,” DeLorenze said. “Because he functioned as any of us do, he lived a very normal life. He certainly wasn’t mentally unfit, or isn’t. To talk to him, if you sit down and talk to him in a coffee shop, you’d have a normal conversation and think, ‘Wow this is a really good guy.’”

Luzzi did, however, acknowledge that hearing voices is a problem, according to his mother.

“I’m sure that he thinks – that he knows it is not normal for him to hear voices, but I’m not sure he thinks they can get to the bottom of that problem,” she said.

DeLorenze also said she learned more about the person who tipped police to Luzzi’s thinking.

The woman, identified as Lori Lynch in court paperwork, lives out of state, and has known Luzzi since high school and is among a group of close friends who met as teenagers and still stay in touch, DeLorenze said.

So far police have said they have enough probable cause to charge Luzzi, but are awaiting a decision by the Knox County District Attorney’s Office.

Although Boucher, the Rockland police chief, declined to discuss the specifics, he said police have enough probable cause to charge Luzzi with one crime. Separately, in in a search warrant affidavit, officers identified that crime as one count of terrorizing.

State law makes it a Class C felony punishable up to one year in prison to communicate a threat that results in a lockdown or other security response at a building or public place, even if the threat is not carried out.

“Again, the key issue is, he’s getting the treatment he needs,” Boucher said. “His threat, whether real or imagined, is no longer a factor.”

Comments (3)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jun 03, 2018 12:54

“Again, the key issue is he’s getting the treatment he needs,” Boucher said. “His threat, whether real or imagined, is no longer a factor.” When more begin to think this way the problem will decrease.  There will be less attacks and less suicides when people know it is alright to reach out for help.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Jun 03, 2018 07:28

Lori Lynch did the right thing by notifying police. She may have helped prevent another senseless tragedy. She was being a good friend as well to Mr Luzzi.

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jun 02, 2018 16:33

Sounds like this man needs professional help.

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