Rockland man had made prior comments about school shootings

By Matt Byrne, Portland Press Herald | Jun 07, 2018
Photo by: Stephen Betts

Rockland — Two people called Rockland police to report statements a local man made about school shootings and guns in the months before he triggered a districtwide school lockdown last week, dispatch records show.

Brandon Luzzi, 62, of Thomaston Street, continues to undergo mental health evaluation and treatment and has not been charged with a crime. He allegedly told a friend that he heard voices in his head telling him to “do a school shooting.” The friend notified police the morning of May 29, prompting the lockdown at schools in Rockland and surrounding communities, while officers confronted and detained Luzzi. After obtaining a search warrant, police seized seven guns, mostly hunting weapons, from his home, along with various types of ammunition.

A review of police dispatch records obtained by the Portland Press Herald through a public records request found it wasn’t the first time he had mentioned his paranoid feelings, firearms and school shootings.

The first call came Sept. 14, 2017, from Joseph Dady, who identified himself as a friend of Luzzi’s.

“Brandon acts paranoid frequently, but today stated that he ‘lives in a house across from this school where another guy went crazy, and I have guns,’” Dady told a dispatcher, according to the records.

The dispatcher assigned the call to Rockland Police Officer John Bagley at 11:25 a.m. Bagley responded and cleared the scene 35 minutes later.

Police have previously indicated they had contact with Luzzi, but had declined to describe the nature of the calls. The dispatch information provides a window into the contact police had with Luzzi before he was taken into custody.

In the second call, which was received April 20, 2018, at 11:01 a.m., someone from the Rockland Red Cross reported a string of disturbing statements by Luzzi.

“Brandon Luzzi has been making statements about being exposed to wave radar and hears voices,” according to a description contained in the dispatch records. “Talked about devices implanted. Has mentioned something about school shooting software to induce one. Would like to speak to an officer about this.”

Rockland Police Officer Andrew Redden responded.

There is no indication in the records of what followed the calls or what actions police took in response.

Luzzi’s mother, Chevala DeLorenze, said she was unaware of the previous reports about her son, but that upon hearing the reports, she said it seemed to verify the police version of events – that he was hearing voices.

DeLorenze said she spoke with Luzzi this week, and that he is still at Pen Bay Medical Center, where he is cooperating with doctors as they try therapy and medication.

“I can’t tell you how much better he sounds,” DeLorenze said. “They’re trying medications and he’s very receptive and up to that.”

Luzzi has not been charged with a crime, but he remains hospitalized and could face one count of felony terrorizing if he is released, police have said. Any decision about whether to charge him will fall to the Knox County district attorney.

There had been other, earlier calls, as well, involving Luzzi’s address, but none seemed to point to behavior connected to his alleged school threat.

In one 2016 call, Luzzi phoned police to report he was having a disagreement with a “lady friend” who refused to leave his house and was insisting that she sleep in a spare bedroom. No officers were dispatched.

In another call in 2016, it appeared that Luzzi reported a case of suspected criminal mischief.

In two instances, Luzzi showed up at the police station, first in November 2016, and asked to speak to an officer about something personal. He again appeared at the police station in 2017 and asked to make out a victim report.

In both of those cases, no further information was provided, and portions of the records that may have categorized the calls were redacted.

On the morning of the lockdown after police received the tip from another friend of Luzzi’s about the threats he allegedly made, at least 11 police officers were scrambled to area schools.

Once the security was in place, Bagley, the Rockland officer, approached Luzzi’s home and spoke with him in his front yard.

Luzzi told Bagley about the voices and that he had at least one hunting rifle in the house, but said “he is able to keep the voices at bay and is of no harm to anyone,” according to a search warrant affidavit filed in connection with the case.

Luzzi tried to go back into his house, but police took him into protective custody. Police entered Luzzi’s home after obtaining the search warrant, finding seven firearms, a flare gun and ammunition.

Officers seized a Marlin model 60 semi-automatic rifle, an H&R 16-gauge shotgun, a Browning 0.30-06 rifle, a Savage 110CJ .270-caliber rifle, a Weatherby Mark 5 .30-06 rifle, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, a Winchester model 94 rifle and an orange flare gun. The weapons are being kept at the Rockland Police Department.

Comments (6)
Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Jun 07, 2018 15:59

Why would "anyone claim mental illness" given the obvious stigma and bias some people hold against those struggling with mental illness? A much bigger issue is America's love affair with guns.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Jun 07, 2018 15:37

Anyone can claim mental illness Mr Merriam and should this man be released there is no guarantee that he will not act out on these so called voices. I will then ask you where your compassion might lie.

Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Jun 07, 2018 14:28

Some communities have cooperative working agreements with local mental health professionals who can be on call to accompany law enforcement to help assess individuals who may be experiencing mental illness that warrants intervention for their safety or the safety of others.

Posted by: Melinda Lindsey | Jun 07, 2018 09:28

It seems to me that in the light of school shootings/mass shootings that the Rockland police should have delved into this persons mental health issues when he made previous statements and the police were notified.  This is not something that should have been ignored. How many of the recent shooters, that after the fact, people said they knew the person was in need of help

Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Jun 07, 2018 08:38

People with mental illness need to be treated with compassionate and expert mental health care - not name-calling.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Jun 07, 2018 07:14

Sounds like a loose cannon to me. The only weapon he should have access to is a rubber knife.

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