Ray was a laser beam shot from outer space to our shelter. He had been off and on the streets for over twenty years. He had moved from place to place and we could never find his place of origin. He was living in our shelter and we were attempting to assist him in finding a way to leave the streets behind. In our interview he insisted he wanted to work even though the staff had doubts about this; they referred him to the Employment Training Center. His counselor was a woman named Carol who was a beautiful and caring twenty-something I was friends with.
After a few days in the shelter I quickly realized he had severe mental health problems. He would have outbursts where his arms gyrated and head jerked around like the mad man he was. He was easily upset and too quick to go into his store of eccentric behavior. He had delusions of grandeur and was confused that we were not consumed by his all powerful presence. Most of this I knew by report not first hand. I told the staff if he were to go into this behavior while I was there, send him to me. I wanted to observe it firsthand. As with most of our clients who had been in the shelter I had made an effort to befriend him and had had a few limited but cordial conversations with him. Ray had also made sure I knew when he had done his chore or what problems he was having. In other words as the person in charge he was prepping me for some future assistance.
The day came when the staff had to make a ‘referral’ of Ray to me. My door was open and I could hear him coming down the hall, arms and head in full operation. His voiced was raised and threatening me if I did not make things right. When he entered the room I motioned for him to sit. He would not and stormed all over the office. I immediately stood up and said in my Marine Drill Sargent’s father’s voice, ‘Sit down or I will physically throw you out of this office.’ Ray looked at me and saw I was serious and sat down but he continued to rant and move his arms in exaggerated motions. I told him harshly to shut up let me finish the paperwork I was working with and then I would be with him. Again he observed me and did as I said. We talked; he calmed down (although he did mutter under his breath a couple of times). We talked and I could see the mental health track was the one he should be on.
The next day the Carol from the Employment Training Center called a little distressed. Ray had exploded at her and refused to believe that he could not work. This in itself was not an unexpected occurrence but what was unexpected apparently he had written her letters that were laced with terroristic threats. The letters were anonymous but it was evident that they came from Ray. In the letter he had also threatened me and my offspring (whom he had never met) and stated he had a gun in a locker at the bus station across the street he would use to carry out the threats. Unfortunately for Ray he had crossed a line; we called in law enforcement. The appropriate authorities for anonymous terroristic letter threats were the FBI.
I had conferenced [word choice] with Ray about the letters and how this was a dangerous thing to do if he wanted to stay out of jail. But he had become obsessed with letter writing. He could not stop himself even after the FBI agent had visited him and gave him strict threats if he was responsible for the letters. Now I was not really afraid of Ray; he was 5’8 and less than 120 pounds and was easy to physically intimidate. But the threat of a gun in a locker and the threats to Carol were snowballing into something Ray did not understand.
Ray’s next letter threatened the FBI agent too. This is the one thing in life you do not want to do, threaten a federal law enforcement officer. At this point the letters were sent off for a handwriting analysis to determine if it was indeed Ray’s handwriting. Ray freely gave a sample of his handwriting because he was convinced he was innocent. A subpoena was issued for the lockers in the bus station to see if there was indeed a gun. Through this all we knew Ray was probably not a real threat; when Ray was not agitated he was quite affable. He had a sense of humor and was actually kind. He probably had a crush on Carol and in his letters between the threats were courtship overtures to Carol.
So when he saw Carol and the young FBI agent together he became jealous. The FBI agent and Carol were not dating but were definitely a possibility if Carol was not a client. This is probably the thing that led to Ray’s next action. Ray in his newest letter talked about the great government conspiracy to keep him and Carol apart. The government conspiracy involved Carol, the FBI agent, and myself.
But it was his action the following day that doomed poor lovesick Ray. There are two buildings in Savannah that house the regional FBI agents. Ray hid in the bushes by the door of one of them and waited for our young FBI agent to exit. After sometime he was rewarded. He jumped out at the agent yelling, ‘she is mine and I will kill you’. What happened next was probably not in Ray’s plan. The startled agent threw Ray to the ground, pulled out his revolver and pointed it at Ray. Within seconds agents who were inside and saw the incident came out with guns in hand charging the scene. There was Ray who was terrified, the agent would later report, and over ten FBI agents with guns drawn surrounding him.
I never physically saw Ray again. I received updates of his parole hearings because of my involvement in his case. So I knew he was on medication now and was apparently a model prisoner. Yet he was not being paroled anytime soon and if he was paroled he would not be allowed in the state of Georgia. It turns out Ray had a part of a gun in his bus station locker that could not be used to shoot anything. The letters were indeed his, the handwriting analysis concluded. I believe but am not absolutely certain that Carol and the FBI agent dated for a while. And as for me I received my conspiracy check for a job well done from the government two weeks later.