Past struggles emerging about disabled veteran charged in NT bomb scare

Jun 27, 2019

We are learning more about a disabled veteran who prompted a bomb scare at North Tonawanda City Hall earlier this week.

North Tonawanda Police say Timothy Payne, 36, remains in custody and is scheduled for a hearing in NT City Court Friday morning for criminal possession of a weapon. He also was evaluated by medical personnel.

Credit Facebook

Payne was arrested Tuesday afternoon after police found a loaded pistol, two military-style rifles and 400 rounds of ammunition in his van. Bomb Squad agents were also called in after another item found appeared to be explosive. Police now say it was a hitch lock, which "could be construed as a pipe bomb." 

In fact, they say further investigation has found that Payne appears to be living out of his van since traveling to New York from North Carolina looking for work. He has ties to NT and met with the mayor to express his distress about not being able to find work, but police say Payne has made no threats to anyone.

"The North Tonawanda Police Department will be working closely with the Niagara County District Attorney's office to resolve this case in the most appropriate manner that takes into consideration the needs of Mr. Payne who served his country honorably and was severely injured during his service, both physically and mentally," said Police Chief Roger Zgolak, in a statement.

According to Payne's Facebook page, he joined the Army as a Paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, was deployed twice to Iraq and became an expert infantryman and top recruiter. Deployed a third time, this time to Afghanistan, his legs "were blown up by an IED."

"Three years later he fought through medication addiction trying to hang only onto the Army Values (LDRSHIP)," Payne says. "After giving up on life he became suicidal and prayed that God would just kill him like Jesus Christ. He miraculously got extremely motivated from peer to peer mentoring without remembering the suicide actions for 6 months, but the same day he retired his brother-in-law fell off a cliff and died. Staff Sergeant Payne felt guilty he endured and survived all these hardships."

Today, Payne says he uses his faith to motivate others through hardship.