Gary Brooks Faulkner became internationally famous last year after the Greeley, Colo. native packed up a sword and a pistol and went on a one-man hunt for Osama bin Laden in the mountains of Pakistan. But now Faulkner has a new mission: get out of jail.
Since Sept. 1, Faulkner’s home has been the Weld County North Jail Complex in Greeley. The man the media once dubbed the “Rocky Mountain Rambo,” a former guest on The Late Show With David Letterman and The View, is unable to post a $10,000 bond.
And all because Faulkner defended himself.
Faulkner made headlines in June of last year when he was arrested by the Pakistani police in Chitral District carrying a pistol, a knife, night-vision goggles, a night-vision camera, religious literature on Christianity and a samurai sword. When he was questioned after his arrest, Faulkner — who receives dialysis for kidney problems — revealed he was on a solo quest to find and capture Osama bin Laden.
When he was returned to the States, Faulkner enjoyed brief celebrity. But after the Klieg lights cooled — and Navy SEALs finished Faulkner’s job for him — he began spending his days in the more pedestrian pursuit of managing an apartment complex in Greeley owned by his brother, Scott. That is, until the early-morning hours of May 6, according to a Greeley police affidavit exclusively obtained by Danger Room (.pdf), when he was pressed into action once again.
Faulkner had earlier alerted a tenant in the complex that she was getting evicted. The tenant decided to change Faulkner’s mind by having three of her friends break into his apartment, located in the same complex, to have a chat with Faulkner. But the man who once stalked bin Laden in the Pakistani badlands wasn’t so easily intimidated. Faulkner reached for a Springfield XD .40 caliber handgun and fired off a warning shot that sent his assailants scattering.
The shot also brought the police to his apartment. Det. Matt Walsh writes in his affidavit that the officers quickly identified Faulkner as “the man who has flown to Pakistan several times to hunt for Osama bin Laden.” Faulkner handed his .40 cal to the cops, who took it with them for safekeeping.
The problem is that Faulkner is an ex-con. An avid thief before hunting bin Laden gave his life a new direction, Faulkner spent 12 years in jail between 1981 and 1995 on two separate larceny and burglary bids — the result of criminal skills that he would later credit as an asset on his bin Laden hunt. (He’s been arrested four times since on misdemeanor offenses.) As a convicted felon, it’s illegal for him to possess a gun.
All of that caught up with Faulkner on August 31, when he came to the police station in Greeley to retrieve his gun. He learned that a background check had resulted in a felony summons. According to the affidavit, when Faulkner learned he would be arrested on a gun charge, he insisted he was above the law.
“The Defendant became somewhat argumentative with the detective and told him that there are two sets of laws,” Walsh’s affidavit reads. “The first pertains to the statute the detective cited prohibiting felons from possessing handguns and the other set of laws are the ones the Defendant lives under. The defendant did not elaborate on the laws he claimed to be subject to.”
Then it got ugly, according to Walsh: Faulkner “said he would use the Detective’s gun to protect himself if he had to and even threatened to shoot police officers if it was necessary to protect himself.” That ensured he was arrested the next day, and charged with possession of a weapon by a previous offender, a class-six felony. (In other words, barely a felony; convictions typically carry a jail sentence of a year.)
Since then, Faulkner has resided in a Weld County jail, awaiting a trial set for March 5 before Judge Julie Hoskins. Hoskins set bail for Faulkner at $10,000. No one has posted bond for him. An e-mail to Faulkner’s brother Scott was not returned.
District Attorney Kenneth R. Buck appears set to see Faulkner in court. “I can’t say whether or not it’s going to go to trial, but it is currently set for trial,” says Terasina White, the administrator for the Weld County District Attorney’s office.
It’s quite a reversal for Faulkner. A year and a half ago, he was joking with David Letterman about how to get to Pakistan from San Diego by boat and telling the CBS Early Show that he wasn’t afraid of bin Laden’s bodyguards because “I’m a thief.” Just last month, documentary filmmaker Paul Johnson released Binny Boy, a documentary about Faulkner and his quixotic quest into Pakistan.
But Faulkner’s spirits aren’t down, according to Johnson, who says he’s spoken to Faulkner from the Weld County jail.
“Gary’s the most positive, upbeat person you will ever meet,” Johnson says. “For a guy who’s on dialysis, he’s spent most of his life in prison, broke all the time, he’s always happy, always generous, smiling. He calls me from jail there, and he’s, ‘Hey, Paul, how ya doing! I’m doing great, they let me out three times a week to get dialysis and I’m feeling great.’ And when you go to the dialysis center to see Gary getting dialysis, you see a lot of really sad people who are just suffering, and then you see this one guy, who’s just smiling and grinning and hitting on the nurses.”
Photo: Courtesy Weld County, Colo. Sheriff’s Office