Shelton, WA (4-30-14) — Larry Ray Gillette, 53, a recently released convicted felon who had served a long stretch in Washington’s prison, was angry, wanted to get even, and was desperate. It’s not easy for an applicant with a criminal history to find employment. Larry wasn’t about to try. After hitting the streets only days earlier he contributed to his own undoing by stupidly taking the bait in a multi-agency coordinated sting operation hook, line, and sinker.
The FBI had been tracking Larry for some time as his release date loomed. Larry had been talking, sharing his plans for his release with a cell mate. Larry imagined bombing a crowded Shelton Wal-Mart parking lot (along with 2 local gas stations) as a distraction so he could rob several banks on the opposite side of town, killing as many people during the heists as possible he said. It isn’t known whether the jail house snitch received a reduction in his own sentence for ratting Larry out, but that’s often the motivation for such cooperation with the authorities. The people of Shelton may possibly owe the snitch a debt of gratitude, it’s speculative.
What’s uncertain is whether Larry could have actually found a man, minus the government intrigue, who would have done Gillette’s bidding by finding explosives (including propane canisters, timing device, a box van-bomb loaded and ready to detonate, 4 Glock high powered hand guns, and a partner willing to accept only 50% of the loot for all this preparation. It wasn’t real, of course. The accomplice turned out to be an FBI agent, the firing pins in the hand guns had been emasculated, the bombs were fake–the van was real. No doubt, the agent would have produced a convincing mock-up of a missile if Larry had asked for one.
The day of Larry’s planned mass murder arrived. So did the van with its compliment of bogus bombs, timer, harmless handguns, and a veritable army of law enforcement agencies waiting for none other than Mr. Gillette to show. “Are you sure you want to do this?” the agent had asked Larry several times. Oh, yeah–Larry wanted to do it. There was all that money to be had and who knew how high the body count might go–payment for the years Larry had spent behind bars for his crimes.
As soon as Larry took possession of the van, set the fake timer, and walked away from it in Shelton’s Wal-Mart parking lot, the law enforcement agents swooped, en mass, on Larry and took him into custody without incident. Larry couldn’t have gotten a shot off if he’d tried. The weapons furnished to him were about as lethal as a kid’s cap pistol. Why anyone would dream such an armory and ready-to-deliver van-bomb would be available like a load of lumber from a hardware store may be evidence Larry’s long prison term had already turned his mind to jelly. Delusional?–or criminal?…perhaps both!
Larry was taken & delivered to the federal lock up for such miscreants at the correction complex in SeaTac. It’s doubtful he was allowed with the general population of prisoners held there. He faced up to 30 years if convicted for solicitation to commit a crime(s) of violence (murder), unlawful possession of a (dysfunctional) firearm by a felon, as well as plotting to use weapons of mass destruction–and it’s likely he would have been.
Larry bailed. He used his get out of jail free card. Mr. Gilllette was found, dead, in his prison cell (4-30-14) 2 days after his aborted attempt to kill as many Shelton residents as possible, planning on robbing 3 area banks in the process. Sheriff Casey basked in the media limelight, taking much of the credit although it was the feds who did almost all the heavy lifting.
Larry was transported to a medical center where he was pronounced DOA at 5:37 pm. The FBI is investigating the death as an apparent suicide. No fowls are suspected.
Though not for Larry, this story had a happy ending for Shelton area residents. No one was hurt, the suspect was taken into custody, and any other wannabe mass murderers planning on killing folks in these parts have some bedtime reading to contemplate. It doesn’t make us all that much safer, of course, but it makes us feel much better than if Larry had succeeded with even a sliver of his ill conceived plans. Good job…or good enough, you tin horned rumpkins. Now go find some miscreant a little more challenging than a brain addled thug with delusions of grandeur–like a few of the more violently inclined area anarchists who give each other pep talks on a regular basis at our colleges and universities.