– The Associated Press

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – Clay Duke was a troubled, broke ex-con with bipolar disorder, an interest in anarchy, a wife whose unemployment benefits had run out and frustrations that reached their boiling point on a day circled on his calendar.

The burly 56-year-old held a Florida school board at gunpoint Tuesday, saying he was prepared to die. He fired at board members, missing them by inches, then killed himself after exchanging gunfire with a security guard.

Duke’s wife said Wednesday he was an excellent marksman and probably missed the five board members – sitting steps away – on purpose. One board member even crept up from behind and hit Duke with her purse – but he only called her a name and didn’t shoot.

“He didn’t want anyone to get hurt but himself,” Rebecca Duke said She called him a “gentle giant.” “The economy and the world just got the better of him,” she said.

In the moments prior to the shooting, Duke spray painted a circle and a large, red V inside of it on the meeting room wall and muttered about rising taxes and how his wife was fired from the school district.

No one but Duke was injured; a school security guard fired several shots and hit Duke three times in the back. In the end, Duke shot himself in the head.

Police said the attack wasn’t some spur of the moment idea. At his mobile home in the woods, they found Dec. 14 circled on a calendar.

The entire shooting was captured by local television stations, and the video was posted on the Internet and broadcast on TV throughout the day. His Facebook page, which was public until late Wednesday afternoon, revealed a man who was fascinated with the movie “V for Vendetta” – which depicts the same symbol that Duke spray painted onto the wall just before he took out his gun.

Wednesday, a sad and troubling portrait of Duke emerged.

Born in Ocala, Fla., Duke graduated from high school in Tampa. Little is known about his early adult years – family members claimed he was in the Air Force for eight years, but that could not be confirmed. In the mid-1990s, Duke had drifted to the Florida Panhandle .

The ’90s were a blur of court hearings and personal conflicts.

He divorced a woman named Anita in 1995 and at some point, had a daughter. He was sued by a property management company in 1999. In 2000, he was convicted for waiting in the woods for ex-wife with a rifle, wearing a mask and a bulletproof vest. She confronted him and then tried to leave in a vehicle, and Duke shot the tires. His second wife, Rebecca, said the incident was a misunderstanding.

Duke’s attorney on the case, Ben Bollinger, remembered Duke as especially paranoid about the new millennium.

“He was one of these Y2k people,” he said, referring to a computer bug that some people thought was going to cause massive problems and economic chaos Jan. 1, 2000. While in prison, Duke filed for bankruptcy.

He was released in January 2004. About a year later, he sued the Social Security Administration, which had denied his application for disability benefits and health insurance.

“He couldn’t work. He just mentally couldn’t make the connection for eight hours a day,” said David Evans, the attorney who represented Duke.