A former police officer had been suffering from a severe mental illness and had asked his family to take away his guns in the weeks before he mowed down his relatives at brunch in North Carolina, killing his daughter and his son’s wife.
Roger Self, 63, was charged with first-degree murder on Sunday after he excused himself from the table where his family were eating at the Surf and Turf Lounge in Bessemer City and then purposely crashed his car into the busy restaurant.
Self’s 26-year-old daughter Katelyn Self and his daughter-in-law Amanda Self were both killed, while several other relatives were injured amid the carnage.
Police have not yet given a motive but have said the crash was intentional and domestic in nature. Authorities said there was no evidence that drugs or alcohol played a role.
Roger Self, 63, (above with wife Dianne) is charged with killing his daughter and his son’s wife after driving his car into the North Carolina restaurant where the family were eating on Sunday
The family, who had been at church earlier that morning, had sat down in the restaurant for brunch before Self excused himself, got into his sport utility vehicle and then drove at high speed into the restaurant.
Rev. Austin Rammell, the family’s pastor and close friend, said Self had been treated for depression and anxiety that seemed to intensify in the two and a half months preceding Sunday’s deadly crash.
Self (above in his mugshot) had been suffering from a severe mental illness and had asked his family to take away his guns in the weeks before he mowed down his relatives. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder
The pastor, who saw the entire family at church just hours before, said Self opened up about his problems about 10 weeks ago when he asked his son to take his guns away from him.
‘His family and close friends have intensely labored to try and get Roger help. We all feel a level of guilt,’ Rammell said.
He added that while he worried his friend might hurt himself, he never imagined that Self would target his family.
Rammell said Self’s judgment had become impaired.
‘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,’ he said.
Self was arrested at the restaurant on Sunday and has since been charged with two counts of first-degree murder over the deaths of his daughter and daughter-in-law.
Katelyn Self, 26, was a deputy with the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office. Amanda Self was a nurse who was married to Self’s son, Gaston County Police Officer Josh Self.
Self’s wife, Dianne, and their son Josh were both critically injured in the crash.
Josh and Amanda’s children were among the other family members at the meal but they were unharmed and are being cared for by relatives.
Self’s 26-year-old daughter Katelyn Self (pictured together in 2013) was killed in the crash. She had organized the family brunch on Sunday in a bid to make her father feel better
Police said Self excused himself from the table where his family were eating at the Surf and Turf Lounge in Bessemer City and then purposely crashed his car into the busy restaurant
The other victim was Amanda Self who was married to Self’s son Josh (above). The son was also injured in the crash but the couple’s children were unharmed
His wife Dianne made no mention of any family trouble in the lead up to the incident and had posted a loving Facebook message dedicated to her husband just one day earlier.
‘My Husband has made me laugh. Wiped my tears. Hugged me tight. Watched me succeed. Seen me fail. Kept me strong. My husband is a promise that I will have A FRIEND FOREVER,’ the message read.
Katelyn had arranged the brunch, inviting her fiance and his parents as well, thinking it would make her father feel better because he would be surrounded by family.
The family had ordered drinks and appetizers and were talking and laughing after being seated at a table near the window.
The pastor said his family weren’t initially concerned when he got up from the table and that they had figured he was suffering from anxiety.
‘They began noticing his car out in the parking lot had circled… and the next thing you know he came through the window,’ Rammell said.
The pastor said Self had seen a psychiatrist and family doctor but hadn’t been hospitalized.
Rammell said Self told him he was taking medicine for depression and anxiety, but he was becoming particularly unstable over the weekend.
Self, who runs a private investigations business, opened up about his mental health problems about 10 weeks ago when he asked his son to take his guns away from him, the family’s pastor has revealed
His wife Dianne made no mention of any family trouble in the lead up to the incident and had posted a loving Facebook message dedicated to her husband just one day earlier
‘It was a roller coaster, and in the last few days it went from bad to really bad,’ he said.
Self, who was a former law enforcement officer, ran a private investigations business called Southeastern Loss Management. He mostly worked for companies to investigate employees’ wrongdoing.
Rammell said the business had been going through an unspecified ‘transition’ that required the help of some friends, but he would not elaborate.
The pastor, whose church is listed in a directory of the Southern Baptist Convention, said Self had been active for decades in a Baptist congregation that grew into Venture Church.
He said Self had served as a volunteer youth minister to ‘hundreds and hundreds.’
‘They can’t even grasp that the man who had that kind of impact in their life did this,’ he said.
Photos from the scene show a gaping hole in the wall of the restaurant at the top of a wide walkway ramp leading to the entrance. The car appears to have gone all the way across the dining room and smashed partly through the restaurant’s back wall.
Katelyn Self, 26, was a deputy with the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office and had been with the department for four years. She is pictured above on the left and right with her father
Photos from the scene show how the car crashed all the way across the dining room and smashed partly through the restaurant’s back wall (above)
Paramedics are seen evacuating the wounded from the back of the restaurant. It is unclear exactly how many people were injured in the ordeal
Restaurant busboy Caleb Martin, 14, said he tried to help by clearing debris and tables away.
‘I walked over to my station and I heard a loud boom,’ Caleb told WSOC-TV. ‘The one guy I could help in back, he was pretty hurt.’
Another waiter Brandon Wilson told the Gaston Gazette: ‘I was about to go check on my tables in the back, next thing I know I saw a white Jeep fly right past my face.
‘I saw tables, chairs, cups everything flying. It was really loud.’
It is unclear exactly how many people were injured in the crash but multiple patients were transported by LifeFlight to the Level One trauma center at Carolinas Medical Center.
Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger gave a press conference soon after the crash confirming that Katelyn had been killed.
Cloninger said the 26-year-old, who was a four year veteran of the sheriff’s office, started as a jailer and worked her way up to deputy.
‘We’re suffering a little bit right now,’ Cloninger said tearfully.
Self is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and is being held without bond in Gaston County Jail.
He is due in court later on Monday.