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Bombing suspect's dad: FBI faith 'renewed'

By MARK BENJAMIN

WASHINGTON, May 8 (UPI) -- The father of the suspect arrested in connection with pipe bombings across the Midwest credits the FBI with preventing his son's suicide.

In an interview with United Press International Wednesday, Cameron Helder said that while his son, 21-year-old Lucas John Helder, was preoccupied with anti-government thoughts, the government performed brilliantly in this case.

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"They renewed our faith in the FBI," said Cameron Helder. "They kept us informed and they still are."

Helder credits the crafty skills of one FBI supervisory special agent from Minnesota, Paul McCabe, with talking their son out of suicide during a tense standoff with police Tuesday.

Luke Helder reportedly had a handgun and was considering suicide during a standoff with police on Interstate 80 outside Fernley, Nev., after a 40-mile chase, according to Cameron Helder. In what could have been Luke Helder's final moments, he dialed home. "It was the only number he knew to call," Cameron Helder said in a telephone interview from his home in Pine Island, Minn.

"Paul was in our kitchen," when the call came through, Cameron Helder said. He said McCabe used his son's own anti-government message to talk him out of suicide.

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"Paul told him, 'If you blow yourself away, there is no way that message will get out,'" Cameron Helder said.

U.S. Attorney Charles W. Larson in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, announced Tuesday that Helder was charged with using an explosive to maliciously destroy property affecting interstate commerce and with using a destructive device to commit a crime of violence. A series of pipe bombings in the Midwest have injured six people, four of them mail carriers, since Friday. Eighteen bombs were found in mailboxes in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado and Texas.

Cameron Helder said he was perplexed by their son's allegedly violent behavior. "I don't know what happened to him. He was not a violent kid."

Cameron Helder said he did not want to speculate on what could have driven bizarre behavior, but said a religion class Luke Helder had started had particularly impressed him.

Luke Helder was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He was arrested after a tip from a roommate made him the subject of an FBI bulletin.

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