A soldier accused of making threats against worshipers in a Hoke County mosque on Thursday suffers from PTSD, a woman who identified herself as his mother said.
The soldier, Thomas Russell Langford, 36, of the 1700 block of Sykes Pond Road, is a major in the Army Reserve assigned to the G-33 Mobilization Section of the U.S. Army Reserve Command on Fort Bragg, a spokesman said.
He faces charges of ethnic intimidation, assault with a deadly weapon, stalking and other counts in the incident at the Masjid Al-Madina mosque.
A woman who identified herself on the phone as Langford's mother said her son is ill and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. She declined to give her name.
"He's a very sick young man, and they're taking care of him," the woman said. "He's not the person they're making him out to be. He's a good family man who takes care of his wife and child. He has PTSD, and he's sick."
She then hung up the phone.
Hoke County deputies who responded to calls from the mosque found "several firearms, ammunition and additional weapons" in Langford's Chevrolet Tahoe parked outside the masjid, the Sheriff's Office said. It also said Langford made death threats against members of the mosque.
"It is not what they say it is," the woman said of news reports about her son.
"He didn't do it all," she added, without explaining herself.
Langford is a Raeford native and a 1998 graduate of Hoke County High School, according to his Facebook page. The page was taken down later in the day Friday.
In 2002, the page said, he graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone.
According to The Fayetteville Observer archives, in December 2002 Langford was among 20 students to graduate from the N.C. Police Corps program at Salemburg.
He has served in the military since 2003.
During his active-duty service with the Army, Langford deployed to Iraq in 2004 and 2008, according to Capt. Eric Connor, a spokesman for the Army Reserve Command on Fort Bragg.
Langford has been with the Army Reserve the last eight years.
During his active-duty Army service, Langford advanced to the rank of specialist.
From December 2003 to June 2005, he was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division on Fort Bragg. His branch was military police and civil affairs, Connor said.
"Just from looking through the records," Connor said, "he has received numerous commendations."
Langford has received the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal (three times) and the Iraq Campaign Medal with a Campaign Star, among others.
In 2008, he commissioned as an officer and entered the Army Reserve.