Phoenix man sentenced to 15 years after planning to release radiological materials in Arizona

Jared Trent Atkins.jpg
Posted at 5:36 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 19:40:53-05

PHOENIX — A Valley man has been sentenced to 15 years after he stabbed a man and then stole radiological devices that he planned to release in Scottsdale and Payson in 2019.

Police say the incident started after the suspect, identified as Jared Trent Atkins, stabbed a store clerk at a gas station near 32nd Street and Indian School Road Sunday, April 28. Authorities say the store clerk was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The suspect fled the scene, and at approximately 3 a.m. the next day, he went to his workplace near 40th Street and Broadway Road and stole three radiological devices containing Iridium-192 used in commercial applications, such as inspection and detection of welding imperfections in pipes. He also stole tools to open the devices and expose the radiological material.

Officers say an hour later, he set a vehicle on fire at a car dealership in Mesa.

Atkins texted his co-workers to warn them about the radiological devices and told them to not show up to work. Atkins was seen on surveillance video at Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall driving on Camelback Road adjacent to the mall where he planned to have a “last stand."

Atkins then drove to the Payson area where he called his family to say goodbye. He then opened one of the radiological devices and planned to commit suicide by irradiation. Officers say for an unknown reason, he closed the device and went back to Phoenix.

Authorities say at approximately 10:30 a.m. the same morning, he went back to his apartment near 32nd Street and Indian School Road. Officers were able to contain Atkins inside, and after two hours of negotiations, the suspect came out of the apartment and surrendered to police.

The three inspection tools were recovered in the suspect’s vehicle. The tools were undamaged, and police say nobody suffered injuries in the incidents involved.

Officers say 27-year-old Atkins is now serving 15 years in jail and 12 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.