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White House Gunman Is Accountant

February 7, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Robert Pickett, identified as the gunman shot outside the White House gates Wednesday, is an Indiana accountant with no prior criminal record. Neighbors said the 47-year-old lived alone after his parents died.

``You could see the sadness on his face″ after his father died in 1995, said Marwan Wafa of Racine, Wis., who lived across the street from Pickett for seven years before moving last summer.

An unopened newspaper from Sunday was on the front porch Wednesday of his modest two-story white house in a middle-class neighborhood in Evansville, Ind. Residents reacted with shock at word that Pickett was involved in an incident that grabbed the nation’s attention.

``I was really surprised. As far as I knew, he was an outstanding neighbor,″ said Lewis Gates, who last saw Pickett in December.

Wafa said he frequently talked with Pickett when both were outside working in their yards but never heard him express any political opinions.

``He was very quiet very reserved,″ said Wafa. ``He was a hard working person.″

Both Wafa and his wife, Sahar, said they never saw anyone visit Pickett during the seven years they lived there.

``After the death of his father, he was by himself in their house,″ Wafa said. ``I don’t recall that there were ever any cars coming in to visit or any people associating with him. He was really always by himself.″

Pickett lives in the same home where his parents lived before they died; his mother died in 1987, according to death records.

Pickett kept his house neat and frequently jogged at night, Gates said.

A former neighbor, Beverly Buck, told CNN that Pickett ``has always been a very kind and a very good person as far as I’m concerned.″

She added, ``Bob was more or less left alone″ after his parents died.

Evansville police said Pickett had no criminal record and that Secret Service agents were seeking a search warrant for his home.

Alvin Hayes, spokesman for the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, said Pickett had no violations listed on his driver’s license

Doug Davidoff, spokesman for the Indiana Democratic Party, said public election records showed Pickett registered to vote in 1992 but did not cast a ballot and has not voted since.

Update hourly