Wife of Texas pilot expresses sorrow for victims

Austin, Texas (CNN) -- The wife of a man who officials say crashed his small airplane into an Internal Revenue Service office in Texas expressed her "sincere sympathy to the victims and their families" Friday.

"Words cannot adequately express the sorrow or the sympathy I feel for everyone affected by this unimaginable tragedy," Sheryl Stack said in a statement read by a family friend, Rayford Walker.

Two people were dead and two others were hospitalized Thursday after Joe Stack rammed his his Piper Cherokee PA-28 into a seven-story building in northwest Austin, federal officials said. The building housed an IRS office with nearly 200 employees.

A 3,000-word message on a Web site registered to Stack railed against the government, particularly the IRS.

Video: Who is Joseph Stack? Video: Stack's bandmates react Video: What Stack's writing reveals Video: Man burns home, crashes plane


Austin (Texas)

Internal Revenue Service

Suicide Attacks

Federal Aviation Administration

"I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different," the online message says. "I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let's try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well."

Authorities say Stack also set fire to his $230,000 home in Austin before embarking on his fatal flight.

Austin attack stuns community

An IRS criminal investigator went to visit Stack's accountant after Thursday's events, leaving a business card on the CPA's front door.

The online message believed to have been written by Stack mentions accountant Bill Ross, saying it became "brutally evident that he was representing himself and not me."

IRS investigator James L. Neff told CNN that Ross is not under investigation. Officials just wanted to make sure he was OK after reading the online comments.

"We didn't know if he was alive or dead," Neff said.

Ross was fine, the investigator said.

Read the apparent suicide note (PDF)

Friends and former colleagues said Friday they had no inkling of the rage apparently tormenting Stack.

"He hid that very well," said Billy Eli, in whose band Stack played bass until a few years ago. "Obviously he was in some serious distress and had some real despair. I never saw that."

Neither did another former band mate, Ric Furley.

"I never saw him in a bad mood or speaking negatively about anything or anyone," Furley said on CNN's "American Morning."

Watch how band mates remember Stack

A former FBI profiler said Stack, 53, apparently had been nursing pain for quite a while.

"He was a wound collector," said Joe Navarro, a 25-year FBI veteran.

But those wounds, Navarro said, may not have been evident.

"Unfortunately, what goes on in the mind often remains there," Navarro said, also on "American Morning."

Watch what Stack's writing reveals about him

The observations into Stack's psyche came as investigators continued to try to piece together what happened.

Two bodies recovered late Thursday remained publicly unidentified Friday.

Two other people were seriously injured and taken to a hospital, while 11 people were treated for minor injuries, Austin police Chief Art Acevedo said Thursday.

The two injured victims, both males, were transported to University Medical Center Brackenridge, according to Matilda Sanchez, a spokeswoman for Seton Family of Hospitals, which runs the medical center.

One patient was treated and released, Sanchez said. The other was transferred to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio in serious but stable condition with burns over 20 to 25 percent of his body, mostly on his back, she said.

The patient taken to the Brooke medical facility remained in stable condition Friday, said hospital spokeswoman Jen Rodriguez. She declined to release any further information.

Share information about the crash and the pilot

The IRS in Dallas, Texas, told CNN the building is a federal IRS field office with 199 employees.

An IRS spokesman said federal law prohibits the agency from releasing information about any interactions the agency may have had with Stack.

The IRS issued a statement Friday saying tax returns will not be delayed.

"In light of the recent Austin tragedy, the IRS wants to reassure Americans that this incident will not affect filing season activities, including tax return processing," the statement said. "The IRS does not process tax returns or issue refunds at the Echelon 1 Building at 9430 Research Blvd., in Austin, Texas."

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane appeared to have taken off from Georgetown Municipal Airport north of Austin about 9:40 a.m.

The pilot did not file a flight plan, the FAA said, and none was required because he was flying under visual flight rules, or VFR.

The National Transportation Board said Friday it was transferring control of the investigation to the FBI, "given the apparent criminal nature of the event."

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell said Thursday "there is evidence that the [airplane's] gas tank was just about full. ... That amount of gasoline ... can do a lot of damage."

Witnesses described an infernal scene, with a blast that that shook nearby buildings and sent fire and smoke bellowing into the sky.

"I just saw smoke and flames," said CNN iReporter Mike Ernest. "I could not believe what I was seeing. It was just smoke and flames everywhere."

Firefighters used two ladder trucks and other equipment to hose down the blaze, which they brought under control within 90 minutes.

Putting out the fire may have been the easy part. Finding out what set Stack off will take longer.

"We don't know what the trigger was," said former FBI profiler Navarro.

"This has been such a shock because it was totally out of character with the Joe Stack I played with for three years," said former band mate Eli.

"We liked him," said Furley, the other former band mate. "We liked him."

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