"You will pay -- God help you -- and I will make you pay!" wrote Charles Bishop in a two-page letter found in the Cessna he fatally crashed Jan. 5 in a small-scale re-enactment of the Sept. 11 attacks.
But authorities and the boy's own mother saw in the letter a confused and delusional teenager, not a terrorist.
The East Lake ninth-grader wrote in his note that he believed "Osama bin Laden is absolutely justified" and "The U.S. will have to face the consequences for its horrific actions against the Palestinian people."
He said he acted alone, though he claimed the terrorist group al-Qaida tried to recruit him. He also warned of a pending terrorist attack on the Super Bowl. The game passed in New Orleans last weekend without incident.
He sent no farewell message to anyone.
In all, one expert said, his letter shows the delusional mindset of someone suffering depression, someone who felt insignificant and unappreciated.
"He wasn't saying 'goodbye,"' said Donna Cohen, professor of psychiatry at the University of South Florida. "He was saying, 'I am.' He's angry."
Cohen said the letter shows that "in his loneliness and anger and feeling lost, he's found a cause, something to fill up his emptiness."
To Bishop's family, the letter was proof he was not himself when he died.
"Charles Bishop's family is unbearably saddened by his obvious loss of touch with reality," said a statement released by the family attorney Pam Campbell.
Also released Wednesday were details of evidence taken from Bishop's home after the crash: classical music CDs, books on espionage, the stock market and popular religious fiction, and polite replies from politicians responding to letters Bishop had sent them.
The teenager was a student pilot preparing for his first solo flight when he took the plane without authorization from a Clearwater flying school. He briefly flew over restricted airspace at MacDill Air Force Base before crashing into the 28th floor of the Bank of America building on Ashley Street in downtown Tampa.
He died with $2 in his wallet.
A joint investigation by Tampa police, Pinellas Sheriff's office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement concluded this week with little information that shed light on Bishop or his motives.
Tampa police say it appears he acted alone.
"There is absolutely no indication Bishop was involved with anyone else, or belonged to any organization," said Tampa police spokesman Joe Durkin.
TPD officials notified the National Football League about the reference to the Super Bowl, but the NFL already had "a high level of concern for security, regardless of the note," Durkin said.
According to a report from the Pinellas Sheriff's Office, Bishop spent the night before the crash at the home of his grandmother, Karen Johnson. Shortly before 4 p.m. on Jan. 5, he called his mother to tell her they were on their way to the airport.
Johnson said the pair stopped at a Wendy's so he could grab something to eat and that he appeared to be in a good mood. She said she watched through a window as Bishop untied the aircraft, but got distracted. When she looked again, the plane was gone.
Johnson noted her grandson "was making Clinton jokes" on the way to the airport.
The report indicates that as Johnson was telling investigators about the Clinton jokes, Bishop's mother "started getting very upset and did not want her mother to talk about her son."
David W. Cunningham, operations manager at National Aviation flight school, told a deputy that the boy's grandmother said Bishop said on the way to the airport "that if anything happened to him, to please don't let his enemies come to his funeral and don't tell my pop."
Yet his father had not been a part of Bishop's life for years. His mother divorced Charles Bishara shortly after her son was born. Records and interviews show the couple had a turbulent relationship, including a failed suicide pact in 1984.
After the marriage ended, Julia Bishara changed her name and that of her son to Bishop and began a nomadic life that saw the younger Bishop attending 12 schools in 10 years.
After the plane crash, Pinellas sheriff's detectives took several books from Bishop's home as evidence: Spy Book: The Encyclopedia of Espionage by Norman Polmar and Thomas B. Allen; Secret Agencies: U.S. Intelligence in a Hostile World by Loch K. Johnson; and two installments of the multibook series Left Behind by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Assassins: Assignment: Jerusalem, Target: Antichrist and Desecration: Antichrist Takes the Throne. Bishop also had several stock market books, including The Motley Fool Investment Guide by David and Tom Gardner.
Investigators also took into evidence two classical music CDs: Beethoven and baroque.
The report also notes that investigators took several letters, including responses from the offices of Bill Clinton and U.S. Rep. Mike Bilirakis. The letters thanked Bishop for letters he had sent to them regarding some endangered species issues.
"It was nothing about national security," said sheriff's Detective Larry Weglarz. "It was about environmental issues or other issues like that. There was nothing that jumped out about terrorist activity."
A loner with few friends, Bishop had hinted of his actions to one of them, Emerson Favreau , a 15-year-old classmate at East Lake High. Last week, Favreau told The Times of an online conversation he had with Bishop more than a week before the crash. The two were having a normal exchange, Favreau said, when "all of a sudden he asked, 'Where's Central Command?"'
Favreau, whose father recently retired as an Air Force technical sergeant, told Bishop it was at MacDill. But where, Bishop wanted to know, on the MacDill grounds?
Favreau said he told him it was near the base exchange, which is a shopping mall, and that Central Command was heavily guarded by about 20 soldiers.
Favreau asked why he wanted to know all this and Bishop said he was curious because he had heard a lot about it on the news.
Now, Favreau thinks Bishop had other ideas.
"I'm sure that was one of the things he wanted to hit," Favreau said.
-- Amy Herdy can be reached at 226-3386 or email@example.com.
First of all, Osama bin Laden is absolutely justified in the terror he has caused on 9-11. He has brought a mighty nation to its knees! God blesses him and the others who helped make September 11th happen
The U.S. will have to face the consequences for its horrific actions against the Palestinian people and Iraqis by its allegiance with the monstrous Israelis -- who want nothing short of world domination!
You will pay -- God help you -- and I will make you pay!
There will be more coming! Al Qaeda and other organizaitons have met with me several times to discuss the option of me joining. I didn't.
This is an operation done by me only. I had no other help, although I am acting on their behalf.
Osama bin Laden is planning on blowing up the Super Bowl with an antiquated nuclear bomb left over from the 1967 Israeli-Syrian War.