The half-brother of Patrick Edward Purdy--the man who killed five children and wounded 30 others here in a schoolyard rampage with an assault rifle--was arrested after he allegedly told Stockton investigators that he and Purdy had plotted to randomly kill a police officer in nearby Modesto, authorities said Wednesday.
Albert E. Gulart Jr., 20, was being held in Modesto--with bail set at $500,000--after his arrest Tuesday on charges of possessing illegal explosives, said Capt. David J. Scott, head of investigations for the Modesto Police Department.
Gulart also possessed a Mac-10 semiautomatic assault pistol--registered to Purdy, who killed himself after the Jan. 17 attack on the children--and a semiautomatic M-1 military-style carbine, Scott said.
Stockton police, who interviewed Gulart as part of their investigation into Purdy’s background after the killings, said that Gulart told them that he and Purdy had plotted to kill a Modesto police officer.
Authorities said the plans included ambushing a policeman, possibly a motorcycle officer, at a Modesto bridge. Police said Gulart told them that Purdy had suggested that the pair wait until summer when officers would not be wearing their bulletproof vests because of the San Joaquin Valley heat.
Modesto authorities became concerned about the safety of their own schoolchildren last Friday after Stockton police relayed a cryptic quote attributed to Gulart.
Scott quoted Gulart as telling Stockton police, “Patrick was successful in what he did, and I have a hard time driving by any school.”
“I don’t know what that means,” Scott said, “but we weren’t going to wait to find out.”
Scott said Gulart was kept under surveillance full time until he was arrested Tuesday.
Gulart has been described as Purdy’s closest friend. The two were together two years ago when Purdy, enraged at their mother, Kathleen Toscano, smashed the windshield of the woman’s car, police said. Gulart, a juvenile at the time, was also with Purdy when his half-brother was arrested in El Dorado County for firing a gun in a restricted area.
The two were also together, police said, three or four days before Purdy opened fire with an AK-47 assault rife on the children at Cleveland Elementary School and then killed himself with a handgun. Police say, however, that Gulart is not suspected of any complicity in the attack.
Scott said the explosives discovered in Gulart’s trailer outside Modesto included blasting caps and a box of high-powered cylindrical fireworks, 2 1/2 inches long by 2 inches wide. He said the rifle and assault pistol were sent to California Department of Justice officials to determine whether they had been altered to fire automatically.
When Modesto police took Gulart into custody, they also arrested his uncle, Tommy Gulart, 29, for a parole violation. He had been relased from prison on Jan. 29 after serving time for assault with a deadly weapon and was charged with being in a place where firearms are present.
Gulart’s arraignment is scheduled for today in Modesto.