DENVER – At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, an army veteran was arrested as he prepared to travel to the Colorado Capitol for an armed protest against the state’s lockdown restrictions.
The FBI found four homemade bombs inside Bradley Bunn’s home, devices he told officers he planned to use against authorities who allegedly attempted to raid his home and take his weapons, according to court documents. He told a friend the bombs were powerful enough to turn an armored breach team into “manageable sized pieces,” federal prosecutors said.
A year and a half later, Bunn, 55, who has pleaded guilty to making and detaining bombs, seeks mercy upon his conviction on Wednesday, with his attorney saying a line can be drawn from his combat experience at the deterioration of her sanity and the delusional thinking that she claims led her to create the bombs. A psychiatrist concluded that Bunn suffered from depression and paranoia, as well as a complex post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from both his combat experience in Iraq and his childhood.
“In the absence of his active mental illnesses, it is extremely unlikely that he would have engaged in such behavior,” Dr Doris Gundersen said in a report submitted by the defense.
Bunn’s lawyer Lisa Polansky has asked U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello to sentence him to about 17 months in jail, followed by supervised release, in part because she said he was jailed for about 17 months. ‘He would not be able to get treatment from the Veterans Administration for his mental health problems if he is in jail.
Federal prosecutors on Tuesday asked Arguello to sentence Bunn on normal sentencing guidelines, which could mean a sentence of around three years or more, depending on his criminal history determined. The sentencing report prepared by the government with this information has not been made public.
“While the accused’s previous military service is commendable, it must also be weighed against the danger posed by the accused’s actions in this case,” they said in a file detailing the knife, l handgun, high-capacity rifle magazines and other equipment he had loaded into his truck when officers arrived at his home in Loveland, 50 miles north of Denver, on May 1, 2020.
Authorities have not publicly identified Bunn as a member of an extremist group. However, Gundersen’s report notes that he visited extremist and right-wing social media and other sites. He also indicates that when discussing his belief that the government would try to forcefully take his guns, Bunn mentioned the murder of Duncan Lemp during a police raid in 2020. Lemp is considered a martyr of the anti-government movement. Loose “boogaloo”.
Due to her claim that the government wants to deprive people of their rights and freedoms, including the right to bear arms, Gundersen said she suspected Bunn of identifying with another group, the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia. But she said he wouldn’t confirm if he was officially involved with them.
The number of current and former soldiers arrested for crimes considered to be ideologically motivated is relatively low. But it has increased in recent years, from an average of nearly seven per year from 1990 to 2010 to 16 per year from 2010 to today, excluding those arrested in the US Capitol violation. United Jan. 6, said Elizabeth Yates, senior domestic affairs researcher. radicalization at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. Anti-government beliefs are the most prevalent ideology among them, followed by white supremacy, she said.
According to defense documents, Bunn served in Iraq at the height of the war in 2003 and 2004, and his platoon was ambushed as he returned to Al-Hawijah. A homemade bomb went off and Bunn suffered hearing loss and a suspected head injury.
Bunn was diagnosed with early-onset PTSD and major depression at Cheyenne VA Medical Center in 2005. He has reported having had vivid flashbacks and panic attacks and being hypervigilant in public and private, among other symptoms. Her marriage began to fall apart. He then lost custody of his four children, having last seen them in 2014.
Bunn showed some improvement from the treatment provided by the VA, but had anger issues that led to a “disruptive behavior indicator” on his record for some time, according to court documents.
In 2016, he started talking to a therapist about his belief that he could exorcise evil spirits, an idea that would concern him.
In January 2017, a treatment provider noted that Bunn was paranoid and “possibly delusional.” A month later, a mental health team became concerned about her continued use of the prescription drug Adderall and the possibility that it “precipitated a psychosis.”
In August 2019, when a doctor told Bunn that he would have to be evaluated every three months to continue receiving Adderall, a stimulant, Bunn quit treatment. He was not receiving treatment at the time of his arrest.
Bunn told Gundersen, the psychiatrist, that he plans to bring weapons with him to the Colorado Capitol to lead the Patriots in a peaceful protest against COVID-19 restrictions and the state’s red flag law. The law, which Bunn testified against earlier in 2020, allows for the confiscation of the weapons of a person deemed to be a threat to themselves or to others by order of a judge.
Bunn said he warned an unspecified sheriff of the group’s plans to climb the Capitol stairs and protest peacefully, but also said if authorities tried to stop them there would be a shootout.
Bunn told the psychiatrist he was in a “bad situation” when he was arrested and said he was glad no one was hurt.
When asked what he would have changed about what happened, he said: ‘It was a tough situation with the coronavirus and all the isolation. I would still have testified before legislators. But looking back, I would have liked to be patient. I would have liked to pray more.