U.S. man went on solo mission to kill bin Laden
DENVER (AP) - An American construction worker has been detained in the mountains of Pakistan after authorities there found him carrying a sword, pistol and night-vision goggles on a solo mission to hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden.
Catching bin Laden was Gary Brooks Faulkner's "passion," his brother said, noting the 50-year-old has been to Pakistan at least six times, learned some of the local language, and even grew a long beard to blend in. Relatives and acquaintances said Faulkner is a devout, good-humored Christian who requires dialysis and did time in prison years ago.
"A lot of kids grow up and say, 'I want to be Rambo,' you know? Well, he is," said Faulkner's brother, Scott Faulkner, 43.
Gary Faulkner arrived June 3 in the town of Bumburate and stayed in a hotel there. The Greeley, Colo., man was assigned a police guard, as is common for foreigners visiting remote parts of Pakistan.
When he checked out without informing police, officers began looking for him, according to the top police officer in the Chitral region, Mumtaz Ahmad Khan. Faulkner was found late Sunday in a forest.
"We initially laughed when he told us that he wanted to kill Osama bin Laden," Khan said. But when officers seized the weapons and night-vision equipment, "our suspicion grew."
Chitral and Nuristan are among several rumored hiding places for bin Laden along the mountainous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Pakistan's military and intelligence establishment generally deny the possibility that bin Laden is hiding somewhere along the Pakistan-Afghan border, as Western intelligence agencies believe.
On Tuesday, Faulkner was being questioned by intelligence officials in Peshawar, Pakistan's main northwestern city. He has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
Scott Faulkner dropped his brother off at Denver's airport May 30, and the two discussed the possibility Faulkner would not return alive from his search of bin Laden.
"He talked about why he was so passionate" to find bin Laden, Scott Faulkner recalled, adding his brother retained vivid memories of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. "He has not forgotten."
But Scott Faulkner insisted his brother was on a rational mission.
"He's as normal as you and I," Scott Faulkner said. "He's just very passionate, and, as a Christian, he felt, when Osama mocked this country after 9/11, and it didn't feel like the military was doing enough, it became his passion, his mission, to track down Osama, and kill him, or bring him back alive."
Scott Faulkner said his brother sold all his tools to finance his trip and was prepared to die in Pakistan. He also said his brother took no weapons and had a valid visa for Pakistan. Scott Faulkner hoped his brother wouldn't be charged with a crime.
Faulkner's sister, Deanna M. Faulkner of Grand Junction, Colorado, said her brother suffers from kidney disease that has left him with only 9 percent kidney function. But she told The Associated Press she did not think his illness was his motivation to go to Pakistan.
"I don't believe this was, 'I'm dying, and I'm going to do a hurrah thing,'" she said.
Khan said Faulkner told investigators he was angry after the Sept. 11 attacks.
"I think Osama is responsible for bloodshed in the world, and I want to kill him," Khan quoted him as saying.
Asked why he thought he had a chance of tracing bin Laden, Faulkner replied, "God is with me, and I am confident I will be successful in killing him," Khan said.
He said police confiscated a small amount of hashish, enough for a single joint, from Faulkner.
"I'm worried about him," Deanna Faulkner said. "I'm worried that in Pakistan, they won't give him his dialysis. And if he doesn't get it, he's in serious trouble."
Bin Laden, who is also reported to have kidney problems, has evaded a massive manhunt since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, which he is accused of masterminding along with other attacks. The federal government has offered a bounty of $25 million for information leading to his capture.
Hugo Corral, who owns a barber shop in Greeley, recalled cutting Faulkner's hair a few months ago. He said Faulkner was quiet and wouldn't answer his questions. After the haircut, Corral said, he saw Faulkner acting strangely outside his shop.
"He would walk, then stop, then do something like he was saluting something. It was kind of weird," Corral said. Through the glass of his shop, he said he could hear Faulkner cursing at no one in particular.
Stacey Stienmetz, who lived in Faulkner's apartment building in Greeley, described him as adventurous. Two years ago, he recalls Faulkner planning a hang gliding trip. More recently, he said Faulkner spoke about going to Pakistan to climb a mountain.
Gary Faulkner was in and out of Colorado state prisons between 1981 and 1993, serving a total of about seven years in five separate stints for burglary, larceny and parole violations, state officials said.