The grieving parents of the gunman at the Earle Cabell Federal Building in Dallas said they feel their son intentionally missed easy human targets when he sprayed bullets into the building.
Instead, they said, their son knew that the return fire from guards would kill him.
"I ultimately think he didn't want to hurt anybody. I think he went down there purely for 'suicide-by-cop,'" an emotional Paul Clyde said of his son, Brian Isaack Clyde, the ex-Army private who – armed with an AR-15 assault rifle – attacked the federal building Monday morning.
In another development, a federal law enforcement source told NBC 5 Investigates that the FBI received a call about Clyde in July 2016.
The official said the information provided in the call did not contain any specific threat that investigators could act on.
The official was responding to what Clyde’s mother told NBC 5 earlier – that another family member had warned the FBI several years ago that Clyde should be denied access to weapons because of his mental state.
That family member could not be reached for comment.
The 22-year-old Clyde died when guards with the Federal Protective Service returned fire from the back entrance of the federal building in downtown Dallas.
No one else was hurt, despite the hour of day – shortly before 9 a.m. – as federal employees and civilians entered the building to begin the work week.
Paul Clyde and his former wife, Nubia Brede Solis, said their son suffered from depression, causing him to be hospitalized for two weeks while he was in the Army.
They also said their son felt his illness caused him to be targeted and mistreated by several of his supervisors at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, driving him to leave the Army early, in 2017, with an honorable discharge.
"He said it was terrible, it was degrading as a human being – very degrading," Solis said.
When Clyde was discharged, his mother said, he told her: "I feel like a big weight has been lifted, like I can breathe. I can see the light again."
However, Paul Clyde said he does not believe his son held a grudge against the Army.
"I don't think so. He never talked ill of the Army. He talked ill of how he was treated by certain individuals," he said.
And while he continued to have bouts of depression, his parents said, Clyde seemed better in the days leading up to the attack, texting his dad, and calling his mother, on Father's Day, just a day earlier.
"He said he loved me," Solis said.
The parents, in an exclusive interview with NBC 5 Investigates and The Dallas Morning News, said their hearts sunk when they saw the picture – the one shown throughout the world – of their son braced outside the building, dressed in black, his head and most of his face masked, gripping the powerful weapon, with additional ammo clipped to his belt.
"That's not my son; that's not him," Paul Clyde remembered thinking.
"There's nothing in those eyes. I know it's him, but it just looks like a blank stare. It's not my boy," he said.
Solis, crying, said she also focused on her son's eyes, in the seconds before he was fatally shot.
"He's like lost in space. Completely lost in space," she said.
And then there was the picture of first responders, as they tried to administer help to the fallen Clyde.
"I just saw the picture of them on the ground. It looked like they were administering CPR, or whatever," Paul Clyde said, adding:
"I find solace in that. That just after this incident, and they found it in their hearts to try to save my boy – that he's not a monster."
Fighting to get the words out, Clyde said his son "had demons that he just couldn't fight anymore. And I don't think he could pull the trigger himself."
Both parents say they strongly believe their son went to the Earle Cabell building, not to shoot people, but to be shot.
"My son was a very good shot," Paul Clyde said. "From what I have seen, he had a lot of rounds that could have gone all over the place. That's why I feel that he had no intention of hurting anybody – except one person" – himself, the father said.
Both mother and father said they will forever regret not recognizing just how deeply bothered their son must have been, and they urged others with depression – military and civilians alike – to reach out for help.
"It was a complete shock. I never thought my son would do something like that," Solis said.
"Brian, he was gentle … he was funny, quirky," said Paul Clyde, an Army veteran who remains in the military reserves.
Fighting back tears, he added: "My son was my son. And he was a soldier. And it just seems, in some form or fashion, that I failed to protect him from himself."