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’Mentally ill’ North Carolina man ‘left a family lunch, went outside, then drove his car into the building, killing two relatives’

Roger Self killed his daughter and daughter-in-law, police said; the 62-year-old man is being held on two charges of first-degree murder

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 May, 2018, 3:40am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 May, 2018, 4:20am

A 62-year-old man was under arrest in North Carolina on Monday after he allegedly excused himself from a restaurant lunch with his family, stepped outside and got into his Jeep, then rammed into restaurant at high speed – killing his daughter and daughter-in-law.

Roger Self is being held on two charges of first-degree murder, the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office said.

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Self was “a faithful, churchgoing family man”, known for quoting the Bible, according to his hometown newspaper, the Gaston Gazette. The newspaper blamed the vehicle attack on Self’s descent into depression and mental illness.

The dead included Self’s 26-year-old daughter, Katelyn Tyler Self, an off-duty Gaston County sheriff’s deputy, according to a press release.

WSOC-TV identified the other deceased victim as Self’s daughter-in-law, Amanda Self. Amanda Self’s 13-year-old daughter was also injured, as was Roger Self’s wife, Diana.

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Reaction in the community has ranged from shock to outright denial.

Self ran a private investigations business called Southeastern Loss Management, mostly working for companies to investigate employees’ wrongdoing.

“Not in a million years could anybody who knows Roger Self ever imagine he would do this,” said the Rev. Austin Rammell of Venture Church in Dallas, North Carolina, a close friend of the family.

He said Self’s ability to reason had been severely impaired in recent months.

“It’s very possible that in his mind, he was thinking the best thing for this family was that they all go to heaven together,” Rammell said at a news conference.

But the pastor said that Self, his long-time friend, was struggling with mental illness so severe that he asked his son Josh to take his guns away about 10 weeks ago.

Rammell said family and friends surrounded him and referred him to a psychiatrist. Rammell said Self had told them that he was taking medicine for depression and anxiety, but that he was becoming particularly unstable over the weekend.

“This wasn’t your normal, what you and I would go through when something bad happens in life,” Rammell said. “This was a roller coaster, and in the last few days it went from bad to really bad.”

The pastor said Katelyn Self had set up the after-church family reunion lunch at the restaurant.

“She wanted to have all the family together to have a good time with her dad,” he said. “They were laughing, had ordered some drinks, had some appetizers.

“Roger got up … Some of them thought he was probably going to leave and come back. They began noticing his car out in the parking lot had circled, and the next thing you know he came through the window.”

Another family friend, long-time Gaston County commissioner Tracy Philbeck, told the Gaston Gazette that he was also aware Self was battling mental illness.

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“If I could have committed him, I would have committed him myself,” Philbeck told the Gazette. “He couldn’t sleep. He stopped eating.”