LAS VEGAS » The man who traveled to a quiet Nevada town and set off bombs that killed him and showered debris across the community described himself as an Army explosives veteran and suffered from depression after the deaths of his wife and mother, a former neighbor of the suspect said today.
Glenn Franklin Jones died Wednesday night in the blasts in Panaca, near the border with Utah, after detonating a bomb in a rental car outside a house heavily damaged by explosives. A woman and two girls inside fled for their lives moments earlier.
The blasts hurled car parts, building materials and bomb fragments across the town with some debris landing up to a mile away.
Jones also seemed to have a fascination with military memorabilia, said another former neighbor who knew Jones and the family living in the house.
“I guess he was bent on destruction, but not killing,” said Richard Katschke. “They got about a half a block, and the house blew up.”
Jones, 59, used to live in Panaca, where Katschke and former neighbor Dennis Sanders said he helped build the house owned by his former co-workers, Joshua and Tiffany Cluff. The house was still standing but left uninhabitable by the twin blasts.
Officials have not disclosed a motive for the explosions.
A hospital administrator confirmed that Jones and the Cluffs previously worked together as nurses at the Grover C. Dils Medical Center in the neighboring town of Caliente and that said Joshua Cluff was Jones’ supervisor.
Jones moved to Panaca several years ago trying to restart his life in a new place after the deaths of his wife and mother, Sanders said. For the last several months he had been living about a four-hour drive away, in Kingman, Arizona, officials said.
Jones told Sanders he had served as an explosives and demolition expert during a stint in the Army. Sanders told The Associated Press he did not know how long Jones worked in the military or where he was posted.
Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee said investigators were trying to confirm whether Jones had a military background. Army spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson said she could not immediately confirm details about military service for Jones.
Katschke told AP that Jones had cared for his mother before she died last August.
“He had a fascination with military things. Shells and that kind of thing,” Katschke said. “He told me he had a shop and sold military souvenirs. That kind of belied his soft and gentle demeanor.”
Arizona police discovered numerous improvised bombs and several pounds of explosives in Jones’ 40-foot motorhome in a mobile home park during a search that started Thursday and continued into Friday, Kingman police said. They hoped to finish Friday, allowing about 100 people evacuated from the mobile home park to go home.
They also discovered part of an explosive device in his car parked at the rental company lot where he rented the car that blew up.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval visited Panaca Friday, meeting with about 200 residents and spending time the Cluff family, said the governor’s chief-of-staff, Mike Willden.
Messages left on the home and cellphones of Joshua and Tiffany Cluff were not returned. They have three daughters.
Hospital administrator Jason Bleak said Friday that the Cluffs and Jones were nurses but that they voluntarily quit their jobs at various times over the past two years.
Bleak said he never saw any signs of problems between Jones and the Cluffs while they worked at the medical center.
Sanders described Jones as quiet and courteous but tormented while trying to lift himself out of deep depression.
Jones’ mother killed herself several years ago with a gun her son had purchased, Sanders said. He did not know how Jones’ wife had died but said she died before his mother.
“I wish he would have reached out to somebody,” Sanders said.