U.S. News Headlines

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Daughter of IRS Attack Pilot Praises Him

One of the daughters of the pilot who crashed his plane into an IRS facility in Austin, Texas, killing an IRS employee and injuring 12 others, said she hoped his actions would send a message to the government.

Samantha Bell, the daughter of Andrew Joseph Stack III from his first marriage, told Good Morning America hat her father’s actions last Thursday were inappropriate. “His last actions, the suicide, the catastrophe that caused injuries and death, that was wrong,” she acknowledged. “But if nobody comes out and speaks up on behalf of injustice, then nothing will ever be accomplished. But I do not agree with his last action with what he did. But I do agree about the government.”Asked if her father was a hero, she answered, “Yes, because now maybe people will listen.” After the on-air interview, she later called to retract that statement, however, saying he is not a hero.

Bell, 38, spoke to the show by telephone from Norway, where she moved after her Medicaid benefits had been reduced. She believed that was another factor contributing to her father’s anger against the government.

Before committing suicide by crashing his plane into the IRS building, Stack had set fire to his own home in Austin. His second wife and 12-year-old daughter were not inside the house at the time. Bell said she believed her father may have burned down the house because of the property taxes that were paid to the government.

The son of the IRS employee slain in the attack spoke out after hearing Stack’s comments. Ken Hunter, the son of Vernon Hunter, said Stack should not be called a hero. “How can you call someone a hero after he burns down his house, gets into his plane … and drives it into the building to kill people,” he told GMA. My dad did two tours of duty in Vietnam. My dad’s a hero.”

After her on-air interview, Bell later said that she considered Hunter the true hero. "I don't want to hurt anybody," she said. "Vernon Hunter is the true hero."

Hunter had worked at the Austin offices of the IRS with his wife Valerie. Their son, Ken, told the Austin American Statesman. "My dad, in that building, he didn't write the tax laws. If he [Stack] would have talked to my dad, my dad would have helped him."