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May 04, 2011 News » Cover Story

Massacre Averted 

A troubled soldier planned to unleash 1,000 rounds on Salt Lake City before someone changed his mind.

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On Aug. 27, 2010, Brandon Barrett drove into the garage of the 24-story Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. As security cameras rolled, he got out and began assembling his military gear. Then he plodded off, rifle in hand, toward an elevator. In a camouflage Army combat uniform and full body armor, bearing a modular communications helmet, an AR-15 rifle, two handguns and a vest decorated with 21 fully loaded magazines (altogether nearly 1,000 rounds of ammunition, some of them armor-piercing), Army Spc. Brandon S. Barrett was ready for war.

But who was the enemy? It had been hard enough to answer in war zones, where any seemingly friendly civilian can suddenly turn into a suicidal bomber. Now, inside the garage of the Grand America, two months after his tour of Afghan combat, Barrett, who had been AWOL from the Army since July 17, still seemed confused about who might be friendly. He stood by the elevator door, looking around, appearing uncertain about what to do next ...

Continue reading this story, in its unabridged form, by picking up a print copy of this week's City Weekly or by visiting SeattleWeekly.com.

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