LAGUNA NIGUEL (CBSLA.com) — Court documents revealed the man accused of mowing down an employee at a federal building in Orange County on Thursday may have had a possible motive.
At the Chet Holifield Federal Building in Laguna Niguel Friday night, damage and police tape were visible where the FBI said Geoffrey Rickner, 45, struck a federal security specialist with his Mercedes and rammed his car into the building.
Court documents obtained by CBS2/KCAL9’s Eric Nochlin show a possible motive. The federal building houses the offices of the Internal Revenue Service.
According to investigators, Rickner told his parents the day before Thursday’s incident that he had an “IRS debt in the amount of $200,000 plus penalties. The IRS found a discrepancy in the reporting of a life insurance policy belonging to Rickner which may have led the IRS to believe he was hiding his assets.”
Court papers also revealed law enforcement first got a call about him acting suspiciously in the parking lot hours before Thursday’s crash. Officers stopped him and said “Rickner continually repeated that he owed money to the IRS.”
Police searched his car and let him go. Then Rickner returned and “gunned it (his Mercedes)” right into the crosswalk, hit a man and struck the building, authorities said.
That federal employee suffered serious injuries but is expected to recover.
The FBI said at this point, there is no reason to think Rickner targeted the employee.
Rickner’s girlfriend and family told investigators he has struggled with mental illness and depression in the past.