|Updated: 4/23/2009 8:08 am
||Published: 4/22/2009 9:19 pm
Federal investigators call a doctor, accused of possessing nearly 100 grenades, a person of interest in the bombing of the state medical board chairman. Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive, ATF, officials have had Dr. Randeep Mann on the radar in this case for some time now, but this has just come to light.
Dr. Randeep Mann is in the Dallas County Jail without bond after pleading not guilty to possessing unregistered weapons. Federal agents say they found unregistered machine guns and illegal hand grenades at his Pope County home in March.
Wednesday, an ATF agent told FOX16 Dr. Mann is a person of interest in the February bombing at the West Memphis home of Dr. Trent Pierce, state medical board chairman.
Grover Crossland with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said, "This has nothing to do with the incident he has been charged with. There is no connection between that incident and this incident at this point in time."
But we do know the state medical board disciplined Dr. Mann in the past, most recently in 2006 for over-prescribing painkillers.
West Memphis Police Chief Bob Paudert said, "I had a great interest in him when I found out he was disciplined by the board Dr. Pierce was chairperson of. "
Chief Paudert says this news is no surprise to him, but he says originally federal agents told him Dr. Mann was not connected. "I think everybody in the community thought he had something to do with it but I was being told he had nothing to do with it and all I can repeat is what I'm told," Paudert said.
Agent Crossland said, "A lot of doctors have been disciplined by the medical review board. Those would obviously be a person of interest." In fact he says there are dozens of persons of interest in Dr. Pierce's case right now even though most people like him throughout the West Memphis community and the state. "He doesn't seem to have any enemies," Crossland said, "He is a pillar of the community."
So far investigators have done 500 interviews and explored 600 leads. They hope to get some more solid answers soon. "I'm confident we will resolve this investigation and we are working on this thing night and day," Crossland said.
FOX16 called Dr. Mann's attorneys to see what they have to say about all this. There was no word back from them Wednesday afternoon or evening. Mann pleaded not guilty to the unregistered weapons charge and his court date is set for June 1st.