NEW YORK – The man accused of taking hostages at a Hillary Clinton campaign office in New Hampshire said in an interview he had hoped the standoff would end in his death, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
"My intent was never to hurt anyone," Leeland Eisenberg told the Daily News in a jailhouse interview. "My intent was actually almost like a suicide by cop."
Eisenberg, 46, is accused of taking six hostages at Clinton's storefront campaign office in Rochester on Friday, showing them road flares strapped to his chest and claiming they were explosives. State police negotiators coaxed Eisenberg to surrender and no one was hurt.
In the interview with the News in Wednesday's editions, he expressed disappointment in how his surrender ended.
"I knew once the last hostage went out the door, there would be no reason for them to have restraint," Eisenberg said of police. "I could see the sharpshooter. He was all dressed in camouflage, and he had one of those laser lights on his rifle... I didn't have my hands up or nothing. I just walked toward the door, thinking, 'This is it, he'll take me out.' So I swing the door open, and he still didn't shoot me, and I'm like, 'What do I gotta do here?"'
During the interview with the News, he said he had been diagnosed as bipolar and that it was his mental health condition — combined with the loss of his job as a sales manager and his wife's filing for divorce — that led him to feel "apathetic and despondent."
He said he got the idea for the bomb from something he saw on television.
"I just snapped," he said. "I kept hearing these voices saying to me that I need to sacrifice myself to make a statement for mental health for everybody, to bring this issue to the forefront."
A judge on Monday ordered Eisenberg to be held on $500,000 cash bail and to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
Eisenberg faces charges of kidnapping, criminal threatening and fraudulent use of a bomb-like device. He will not enter pleas until the case reaches Superior Court.
Massachusetts officials said Friday that Eisenberg was released from prison in March 2005 after completing a sentence, but state law prevented them from giving details of the conviction or charge.
Eisenberg's criminal record in New Hampshire began after his release in 2005 when he was charged with failing to register as a sex offender, said Strafford County prosecutor Janice Rundles. He was convicted the following year, she said.