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Phoenix Man Sentenced For Trying To Use Weapon Of Mass Destruction

Jared Atkins
Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office
Jared Atkins

A Phoenix man has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to trying to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Federal prosecutors said Jared Atkins went on a crime spree in April 2019. First he stabbed a gas station clerk. Then he went to his job at a tech company and stole three devices that held a radioactive element, plus the tools needed to release it. Atkins next set fire to a car outside a Mesa car dealership.

Prosecutors said security footage showed Atkins driving next to Scottsdale Fashion Square, where he considered making a final stand.

Instead Atkins went to the Payson area, opened one of the devices to kill himself, but then closed it.

Atkins then drove to his Phoenix apartment and had a standoff with police and the FBI before surrendering.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.