A Biddeford man stopped over the weekend with a carload of guns and newspaper clippings about “The Dark Knight Rises” theater massacre in Colorado now faces federal charges that could land him in prison for more than 10 years.

His family and friends, meanwhile, say he is not violent — just a person with mental illness who stopped taking his medication, and that they were powerless to get him help.

The U.S. attorney for Maine on Tuesday charged Timothy Courtois, 49, with possessing firearms while using illegal drugs and lying on a federal form when he purchased a rifle Friday at Cabela’s.

Federal investigators say in court papers that Courtois admitted smoking marijuana and synthetic marijuana, called Spice, both of which are illegal drugs under federal law. If convicted, each charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

A state trooper pulled over Courtois while he allegedly was going 112 mph on the Maine Turnpike in York and found a rifle, a shotgun and four handguns in a brand new Mustang along with a small jar of Spice and a pipe. Police said Courtois told the trooper he was driving to Derry, N.H., to shoot a former employer and that the previous night he had attended a showing of the new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” with a loaded gun.

That was the movie playing Friday in Aurora, Colo. when a man wearing body armor and sporting dyed red hair opened fire on theatergoers, killing 12.

According to his brother, Courtois suffers from bipolar disorder and manic depression and recently stopped taking his medication. He has never been violent and there is no way of telling what he intended or whether he even attended the Batman movie.

“Some of the things he told the troopers he was going to do, it may have been him talking and not being 100 percent correct in the head,” said Cory Courtois, Timothy’s younger brother, who said he believes his brother suffers from bipolar disorder. “He had some delusions of grandeur. None of it adds up, especially not with what happened in Aurora, Colo.”

Timothy Courtois’ behavior has deteriorated rapidly since the beginning of July, his brother said.

The family has been struggling for weeks to get Courtois medical help, even calling Biddeford police, but he rebuffed their intervention. He responded by calling police to say he was being harassed by his father and his brother.

Biddeford police Tuesday released dispatch records showing that officers had visited Courtois’ home at 344 Elm St. several times in July.

On July 7, police described Courtois as agitated but concluded there was no reason for protective custody.

On some of the police calls, Timothy Courtois complained about being distressed or agitated, but he never threatened himself or anyone else, which is a requirement in Maine for someone to be forcibly committed to the hospital.

On July 9, Courtois went with police voluntarily to Southern Maine Medical Center and was left in the hospital’s custody, but he was discharged a short time afterward.

“It obviously surprised and shocked me he could go into a facility like that and have trained professionals not be able to diagnose what was going on,” his brother said. “He went in voluntarily, so I would have to assume they couldn’t make him stay.”

Family members alerted police on Friday after Courtois bought a new convertible. Police checked with Arundel Ford who described Courtois as “upbeat and fine” when he made the purchase.

After his arrest Sunday morning, state police executed a search warrant at the house and found more guns, including a fully automatic assault rifle and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Biddeford Deputy Police Chief Joanne Fiske said police knew Courtois had weapons — he admitted having several guns — but they didn’t know how many, and there was no legal reason to take them away.

“It’s very frustrating,” she said.

Courtois’ family also was frustrated. Prior to last weekend, Cory Courtois talked to one of the officers who had dealt with his brother, asking what police could do.

“He asked if he had threatened to harm himself or others. I said no, he’s not at that state yet,” Cory Courtois said. “They said without the intent of harm, there was nothing they could do except to unfortunately wait for something else to happen.”

Timothy Courtois was a regular boy growing up and in high school, his brother said.

“He seemed perfectly normal, as normal as any older brother, teenage boy, college-bound young man could be. Why it happened, I guess we’ll never really know,” Cory Courtois said.

Cory Courtois was in the Navy years ago when he got a call from his family saying Timothy was having a mental health crisis and was hospitalized at the Bangor Mental Health Institute.

He had another episode in the mid- to late 1990s, he said.

“They’ve never been violent. He would sort of lose touch with reality a little bit, go out and buy things he couldn’t afford,” his brother said. “He would go buy a car or quit his job without another one lined up. Financial difficulties would ensue.”

Cory Courtois described his brother’s first hospital stay as an involuntary commitment and said there may have been one other involuntary commitment, though he wasn’t sure.

People committed to a psychiatric institution by a judge are barred from buying or owning guns and states are required to provide that information to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which checks the database after someone fills out a purchase form. However, not all commitments make the federal database.

Also, in Maine doctors can have someone committed involuntarily at the request of police and others for up to three days if they are a danger to themselves or someone else, but that action does not disqualify someone from owning a gun because the person does not have the right to a hearing.

When on his medication, Courtois was a reliable worker and a conscientious family member.

“Since he’s been here, he’s been a model employee, a great team player, my right hand,” said Marc Rousseau, of the Rousseau Insurance Agency in Biddeford, just a few doors down the street from where Courtois lived. Courtois had worked there since November 2002.

Courtois was adept with computers and numbers and had even been enlisted by other insurance companies to analyze programs and products to find any glitches, Rousseau said.

Courtois didn’t have many friends outside work, Rousseau said. He was content to go home and play on his computers after work. He did run the sound system when the company had its annual Halloween party, attended by more than a thousand people, Rousseau said.

Rousseau said he knows of one other episode of Courtois not taking his medication.

“He had a small episode about eight years ago here. It got adjusted. We picked it up real quick.”

This time, he was not listening.

“There wasn’t any changing his mind. For some reason, he thought he was doing better without it,” Rousseau said. He said many people tried unsuccessfully to intervene.

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