It was as if someone “flipped a switch.”
Roger Self, a 62-year-old North Carolina businessman, was having lunch with family members at a local restaurant on Sunday when he suddenly left, got into his Jeep, and plowed into the eatery, killing his daughter and daughter-in-law, authorities said.
The family’s pastor said at a press conference Monday that Self had been suffering from depression and anxiety for two months—but he could never have imagined that he’d hurt his own family.
“He has been a shining light as to what it means to love people and then all of a sudden, about two months ago, it was like someone flipped a switch. I had never met this man,” Pastor Austin Rammel said.
“His mental state carried him to an act that the Roger Self we have all known would have without hesitation called absolutely insane and evil,” Rammel added. “He deeply loved the daughter he killed. He deeply loved the daughter in law he killed.”
“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,” Rammel speculated.
Self was charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Katelyn Self, his daughter, and Amanda Self, his daughter-in-law, after the intentional “mass casualty crash” at the Surf and Turf Lodge in Bessemer City, the Charlotte Observer reported. The alleged killer’s son, wife, and his 13-year-old granddaughter are recovering from injuries, according to WBTV. Katelyn Self, 26, was a deputy at the Gaston County Sheriff's Office, and Amanda Self was a nurse.
While Gaston police are still investigating the matter and have yet to comment on Roger Self’s alleged mental health history, they said there is “no doubt he acted intentionally.”
On Sunday morning, the Self family attended an early morning church service, Rammel said. “They took up an entire row,” he continued. Katelyn Self made reservations at the Surf and Turf Lodge for after church because she “wanted to have all the family there to have a good time with her dad,” the pastor said.
There, the family had attempted to confront Roger Self about his recent behavior, WBTV reported. But the attempt at an intervention quickly went south, according to employees at the restaurant.
Self abruptly left the table, hopped into his car, and circled around the parking lot before driving through the restaurant, the Gaston Gazette reported. “I walked over to my station and I heard a loud boom, “ busboy Caleb Martin told WSOC-TV.
“I saw a white Jeep just fly right past my face,” Brandon Wilson, a waiter, told the Gazette. “It was so unreal. I saw chairs and tables and cups just flying everywhere. It just sounded like a tornado.”
Nathaniel Vickers, another employee, told the Gazette he did his best to help at the scene of carnage. “It was chaotic, dust everywhere.”
Katelyn Self died in the arms of the restaurant manager, according to Vickers. Roger Self’s granddaughter was “covered in blood and cuts, shaking,” according to the Gazette.
Many of the employees said Self was a regular at the restaurant, according to WSOC-TV. The father of three owns a private investigator business based in Dallas, North Carolina, and he once worked as a police officer, WBTV reported.
He requested a public attorney at his arraignment on Monday afternoon, and his next hearing is scheduled for June 7, according to WBTV.