February 18th, 2010
07:44 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Pilot's Suicide Mission

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

We have new developments on the pilot who slammed his small plane into an Austin, Texas office. We've just learned two bodies have been found in the building's wreckage.

The pilot, Joseph Stack, left an apparent online suicide note where he expressed anger at the IRS. The building hit housed an IRS office.

The IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman released this statement:

"Like most Americans, I am shocked by the tragic events that took place in Austin this morning. This incident is of deep concern to me. We are working with law-enforcement agencies to fully investigate the events that led up to this plane crash.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the dedicated employees of the IRS who work in the Austin building. We will immediately begin doing whatever we can to help them during this difficult time.
While this appears to be an isolated incident, the safety of our employees is my highest priority. We will continue to do whatever is needed to ensure our employees are safe."

We're also following new developments on Iran. The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said today Iran may be secretly working to develop a nuclear warhead.

Iran's president has insisted it's nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, energy only. But in a draft report the U.N. doesn't see it that way.

We also are looking into the mystery assassination of a Hamas leader. Is Israel's intelligence agency behind the killing? Joe Johns is digging deeper.

Join us for these stories and much more at the top of the hour. See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    A terrible act of rage and violence of the worst kind. Who knows what goes through the mind of others.

    February 19, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  2. Dolores, Austin Texas

    Morning, I live in Austin, this wonderful city is a wonderful place to live, it's very laid back and very friendly. It was such a shock to hear that something like this could happen not far from where I live. This man had some serious issues that no one was aware of.
    What he did was wrong; I don't understand how someone could take innocent lives that had nothing to do with his issues. This man owned a plane and lived in very nice home, obviously he was living above is means, couldn't he have he sold some of the items to pay his debt to the IRS? Give me a break....you can't take these things with you when you die. It never seizes to amaze me that people like Joseph Stack value personal property more that precious lives. May God have mercy on his soul?

    February 19, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  3. Jeff Cook

    I am wondering what happened to united we stand. There was a time in my life where you could have an intelligent debate over issues affecting our Nation. Today it seems that the media and politicians are rallying people into 2 (or more) camps that are at odds over everything. What I know is that most people want the same thing; security (financial & physical), balanced budgets, educated children and a clean environment. There is, of course more than one path to that goal, but a leader should be able to unite. Lately there has been more ire and less reason. You asked in your report what we thought of the IRS vs. Stack and it seems to me the only logical result to the division of a populace is radicalism. His actions were beyond reason and seemed to only logical way to communicate his fears. I would expect more behavior like this unless everyone in the public eye starts to lead us to the same united objective. I know there will always be a few stragglers and malcontents; however, it should be everyone’s goal to find a way to reunite the Nation.
    Thanks, Jeff

    February 19, 2010 at 8:25 am |
  4. sam lewis

    desperate times is cause for desperate measures, when you threaten a persons lively hood, whether it is a job, family, material posessions, or whatever, in these difficult and uncertain times vengeance is the first cause of action, vengeance is what makes it all worth while. the middle east is fighting a holy war, america is fighting an economic war. if you truly feel strong about a situation and dont have a good understanding as to why, and what is happening to cause things to go wrong and you feel that your back is up against the wall and you cant see any way out, then people will resort to unthinkable solutions, thank god theres power in prayer!

    February 19, 2010 at 5:19 am |
  5. chris

    i'm in austin right now and it's such a strange thing to have happen. we all want to know what would have driven joseph stack to perform such an atrocity, and why cause this wonderful city such grief. it's terrible that innocent people had to suffer due to stack's emotional instability, but i'm really glad that it wasn't as bad as it could have been. it's one thing to complain between friends and colleagues about our country's problems, and then something else quite undefinable to kamikaze an aircraft into a building and to commit murder over the irs. the irs isn't going anywhere. fernando- what are you saying? no one in their right mind would encourage this behavior.

    February 19, 2010 at 2:57 am |
  6. Rich

    As for the other people that are commenting and have no experience with the I.R.S , you are incredible. You don't know how the I.R.S. works. They act as a bank with a 250% late fee compounded daily, and add late fees every 30 days whether you are innocent or guilty, and won't relent. Everyone complains about banks, well, the I.R.S. is the WORST! Even if you are innocent...and it's not an easy way to show your innocence, they DEMAND your money regardless!

    February 19, 2010 at 1:38 am |
  7. Ron

    We had going postal !!! We had going school !!! What are we going to have now going IRS !!! Keep advertising it through the news and see what happens. News is the cheapest advertising any crackhead like this can get.

    February 19, 2010 at 1:25 am |
  8. Pete

    Perhaps it is time to explain to Iran just what consequences they might face if they continue with this insne policy. If you corner a rat it will attack. You can't expect us and or Isreal to just sit and wait until they can possibly provide radioactive materials to other zelots to harm or destroy us while they build their strength. The only solution will soon be the total elimination of their existence.

    February 19, 2010 at 1:25 am |
  9. Chris California

    I am surprised this hasn't been done sooner! The I.R.S & the California Franchise Tax Board has been terrifying people for YEARS! I to am under attack from he I.R.S! My income went down 80 % last year and they want every dime RIGHT NOW!! If they can't get it from you, they will freeze your bank account and leave you for broke in the street with nothing to eat, They DON'T CARE! This poor man just reached his breaking point. He was selfish my ass! The government is the selfish GREEDY ones! I agree, killing is wrong but, who is going to stop these bastards?

    February 19, 2010 at 1:25 am |
  10. jere

    Jeez, this guy wasn't a terrorist. He was a regular guy who found himself in a situation with yet another corrupt government entity, and he snapped after years of pressure. I'm not say what he did was right, but I can see what would push someone to do something like this. Not a terrorist, just a nut. Just like those guys that went "postal" in the 80's

    February 19, 2010 at 1:19 am |
  11. Michael Neuenschwander

    The guy is right about taxes. Its hard not to get so frustrated with our government and how they run things. Sadly the people who really need to get hit by a plane are too difficult to get to and will continue to use the american people as it benefits them the best. Our taxes are horrible and confusing and rediculous. Something needs to be done but I really don't think that it ever will until it either benefits those in power or they are forcefully removed from office and new people make real changes.

    February 19, 2010 at 1:16 am |
  12. taulbee


    I just feel so embarrassed and disappointed in the US. Why are we so weak and ignorantly waiting for peace and cooperation from Iran? I am a single mother and have never been in the military; but, I promise I can see that Iran hates America. The president wants the pride of having a nuclear bomb. I so honestly feel that America is trying to be too nice and polite. I so wish the old American leaders were alive to shut the terrorists and America haters down. Because America is so trying to be peaceful and diplomatic; it will be our downfall....and it will be the final destruction of America. Has anyone read Revelations lately? Will the weak American politicians listen to our Military Commanders? Iran does not want peace. We cannot be friends with them....Why are we so timid as a Nation? Iran does NOT want peace and they do NOT want to change. America is destroying itself by helping countries who do not want assistance. We must spend our own time and money on our own country. Our own people are starving and the government is sending money to help other countries. I just dont get it and never will. God help us......

    February 19, 2010 at 12:00 am |
  13. Patrice

    Todays suicide in Texas was a terrible tragedy. There is so much irony in this man's story it could be anyone of us that just snaps under the stress of our current reality I think we all should take heed and notice – some very educated beings are committing hideous acts. Our society needs to take a very deep look into what is happening here in America. Last week it was a biology professor.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
  14. Betty Price

    I turned on my t.v. and thought OMG here we go again. It's too bad that this was the only way he felt he was going to be heard.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
  15. Ninfa

    I have sympathy for the victims of this tragedy, but my heart goes out to Joeseph Stack. I read his letter. This man was indeed desperate..desperate to be heard and taken seriously by a government that obviously ignored his requests. He wrote that he spent $5000 and wasted 1000 hours trying to appeal to various government officials without success. He tried it the so-called sane way. What makes this so sad is that it took this man being bankrupt of hope and seeing everything he believed to be true of this country and its government turn out to be a lie. Well, what he said in his letter has proven to be true..the media only responds to a body count. Now that this desperate act has taken place everyone wants to know who he was, why he was.. Well unless u plan on changing the White House.. NOW..it doesn't matter.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
  16. Sydney Dennis

    i live in Austin and took pictures of the building. The person who was missing's body was just found along with the pilots. i know numerous eye witnesses and it certainly made for an interesting day here in Texas.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
  17. Tracey

    If any of you knew your history, you would know that this kind of act of violence is what prompted the American Revolution. This man was trying to get a message accross and if he is a terroist then so were our founding fathers. I am sad that innocent people had to die, but aren't innocent people dying in haiti and in the war??? Where is your sympathy and outrage for them??? Joe Stack made some good points in his letter, you should read the whole thing and not just listen to what the news feeds you.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:32 pm |
  18. Donna Wood,TN.

    Well, the man definitly went out with a bang! The death toll was at two? Would that be counting Mr. Stack or not? That is still two too many!

    February 18, 2010 at 11:24 pm |
  19. Shane

    Perhaps we should concern ourselves with the real problem (Corrupt IRS system) and not how this person got his license to fly.

    It doesn't matter how he got it, it does matter that he is probably not the only person upset with the IRS. And if the U.S. doesn't want a situation like the movie "Fight club", they'll pay attention and fix the real problem. Corruption....

    February 18, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
  20. Tarik Hamed

    TERRORISM- The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons. That is the definition of terrorism an act that was committed today by a man A TERRORIST

    February 18, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
  21. Nick

    This pilot is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many Americans out there who feel cheated and lied to by their government. No one is hearing or listening anymore. We're going to see more homeland attacks like this in the future by our own citizens.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:19 pm |
  22. William Denison

    R.I.P Joe your a true American hero.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
  23. Gene Yukich

    Anderson I always thought you where a pretty good American. How can you even think this act falls under terrorism. Everyone knows The Tax code should be one page and simple. America wants all tax payers to share the burden. Tax complication is Un American.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
  24. scott

    maybe this incident should cause the white house to examine how the IRS does buisness? how does the IRS treat citizens that owe taxes?

    February 18, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
  25. Bart

    Ok...the guy was clearly not stable, but who is asking what the IRS did to the guy to push him to this point, if anything? Only one side of this story is being looked at.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
  26. Erik T

    I live in austin and saw the atrocity myself shortly after it happened. What an ignorant disturbed man.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
  27. pat-orangeburg, ny

    Yes, Austin has sadness today. Yes, the irs will drive you crazy!!

    February 18, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
  28. Mike Lead Guru

    Joseph Stack acted in a very selfish manner. He became what he despised....

    February 18, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
  29. Annie Kate

    The guy taking out the IRS building is terrible – for those he hurt it is more than terrible. When you go to work each morning you take your safety at the work site for granted; any more its getting to where you can't to that because of incidents like this. The man who committed suicide this way did no more than hurt innocent people – the IRS with all its rules and power is still there and will continue as before.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:50 pm |
  30. Ed

    I read the CNN alert this afternoon about Iran's "possible" nuclear development and ALL I could think of was "WMD" in the Bush years – come on, surely we have grown from that debacle..."possible?"....lets anger yet another country.....WTF?!

    February 18, 2010 at 10:49 pm |
  31. Satansez

    First, let me say that my heart & sympathy goes out to all the innocent people that Joseph Stacks’ violence and wrongful rage fell upon today. Regardless of the circumstances that brought him to this end, it was tragic in its reminiscence of the Oklahoma City bombing and the terrorist brutality of 9/11.

    Actions such as this are not the way of making positive changes happen in our government. In fact, his careless disregard for his life and others shows Americas’ weakness, not our strength.

    For all of you who ’sympathize’ with him and his issues, remember this – he had a home, a wife, a child and he owned his own business and his own plane. Do know how much it costs to own a plane? The upkeep, maintenance, gas, etc.? More money than I have, that I can assure you!

    I do not claim to know the answers of how we can, as a Nation, come together and inform our government of our discontent in their mismanagement of our money, our homes, our healthcare and our lives; but I do know that this is not the way make our voices heard. This was an act of domestic terrorism and he should not be immortalized in any manner.

    I feel it is important that every American re-read The Declaration of Independence, re-read The United States Constitution and discuss appropriate and non-violent ways to stop the bleeding our Nation is currently experiencing.

    Violence is NOT the answer …

    Satan sez,

    I wonder what the Dalai Lama thought of this today?

    February 18, 2010 at 10:48 pm |
  32. Moni8976

    Killing is not the answer. Obviously he was not in the right frame of mind but the knowing reasons for his terrifc actions are not ludicrous.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:44 pm |
  33. Terry

    I take this act of violance as face value. The guy is sick of the IRS, he says what it is, let it alone.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  34. Jessica

    I am always amazed why a suicide person needs to make sure to have his last word with taking down the house. You can be mad at the system but to kill innocent people who had nothing to do with his situation. Anyone who owns a plane is not a hardship case. We have a choice to keep our toys if we can afford them or sell them and try to group.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  35. Thanhhuong thi Nguyen

    Isn't this tragedy telling us something? Like, how much people care for other's feelings? How people love to put their noses into something like Tiger Wood affair instead of concern about the infamous "real problems". That's why this pilot published his suicided letter two days ago but no body noticed or concern enough to try to find a way to help or at least alert to the News Center. Maybe it would not going this far and this bad. I don't know, all I know is I am in a devastating situation too, and I've been "screaming" for help for a very long time but seems like no one care. Thanks God that I didn't have that kind of outraged in me. Sorry for his family and those innocents employees.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  36. fernando rojas

    How much responsibility should we assign to local government officials encouraging anti federal government actions as the one comitted by this person?

    February 18, 2010 at 10:17 pm |