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Posted at 10:49 AM ET, 07/28/2012

Maryland threat suspect Neil Prescott to hospital for mental health care

The Crofton man who made ominous references to the comic book character “The Joker” as he threatened mass violence against the Prince George’s County business from which he was being fired has been admitted to a Maryland hospital and may not be charged in connection with the threats for a week, authorities said Saturday.

After undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, Neil Prescott was formally admitted at Anne Arundel Medical Center — where he could receive mental health care for up to a week, said John Erzen, a spokesman for Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks.

Erzen said prosecutors and police will not charge Prescott until he is released from the hospital, and they are still deciding what those charges might be and who will file them.

“Whatever the charges are going to be, and whichever agency is going to take the lead in charging, that won’t all come to fruition until it’s time for him to be released from the hospital,” Erzen said.

Police had taken Prescott, 28, into custody early Friday morning, finding more than 20 rifles, shotguns and pistols — and 40 steel boxes containing eight different types of ammunition — in his Crofton apartment.

Earlier in the week, Prescott had threatened mass murder at the Capitol Heights branch of Pitney Bowes, when a supervisor called to fire him, according to authorities and court documents.

Prescott was a subcontractor at the business, authorities said.

During the conversation with his supervisor, according to authorities and documents, Prescott said, “I am a joker. I’m gonna load my guns and blow everybody up.”

Police took the threat seriously and immediately launched an investigation. Authorities wrote in a search warrant affidavit that they believed Prescott was referencing the movie-theater shootings in Colorado when he called himself a joker — a character in the Batman movie the theater was showing.

Twelve people were killed and 58 others wounded during that rampage.

Police and prosecutors have said they are considering a number of possible charges against Prescott — even bringing in the ATF to evaluate the legality of his extensive weaponry, though at least 13 guns seemed to be legally registered to him.

Police said Friday that taking him into custody averted a possibly catastrophic threat to his co-workers and neighbors.

By  |  10:49 AM ET, 07/28/2012

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