North Carolina businessman rams car into family eating dinner in restaurant, kills daughter and daughter-in-law
Friends of Roger Self claim that the 62-year-old had been battling a mental illness, that had left him almost unrecognizable to those closest to him
The Gaston County law enforcement has for long been friends with Roger Self, leaving many wondering as to why the 62-year-old drove his Jeep through a Bessemer City restaurant on Sunday, instantly killing two of his family members and injuring three others who were dining at the scene.
Locke Bell, the district attorney, said the well-known Dallas, North Carolina businessman would be facing two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his daughter Katelyn Self and his daughter-in-law, Amanda Self.
Katelyn served as a deputy with the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office, while Amanda works as a nurse at CaroMont Regional Medical Center, reported Fox News.
Among those seriously injured in the attack were Amanda's husband, Josh Self, a Gaston County police offer, Self's wife Diane, and Josh and Amanda's 13-year-old daughter.
Although there were many other family members present at the restaurant, they escaped injuries.
Josh Self and Diane Self, along with Roger Self's granddaughter are expected to recover from their physical injuries at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, according to family members.
Self, the owner of a successful private investigation and loss management company, Southeastern Loss Management Inc., was known as a God-fearing, church-going, family man.
Some friends claim that Self had been battling a mental illness, that had left him almost unrecognizable to those closest to him.
Self began confiding in his close friends about his depression and mental condition about six months ago.
However, his condition deteriorated majorly in the last two months. He would sometimes go days without getting out bed and became generally paranoid around people. Some friends claim that he felt "he was evil."
“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,” said Pastor Austin Rammell, who is the minister of Venture Church where the Self family regularly attended.
“Taylor (Roger Self’s third child) is saying (today), ‘This is not my daddy.’”
According to Rammell, Self spoke with him for hours on Saturday, often spinning some Bible verses out of context. He also said that Self was visiting a psychiatrist regularly and was under medication for anxiety.
However, he was allegedly in a bad place considering his mental health.
“He was trying to get help,” Rammell said. “We were trying to steer him toward help.”
He said that he saw Self before the Sunday morning services and gave him a reassuring thumbs-up. Tragically, his daughter-in-law Amanda and her husband were scheduled to visit Rammell Sunday night for home studies on "family life".
“He and his entire family were at church this morning,” Rammell said. “They took up an entire row.”
Later on Sunday, the entire family visited the Surf and Turf Lodge restaurant for a family dinner. Roger had come down to the restaurant with the family, but he excused himself soon after.
At that time, the family was eating appetizers and thought he had simply left to use the washroom.
However, events took a horrific turn, when Self drove through the restaurant front door at full speed turning his vehicle in the direction of the table where his family was dining together.
Brandon Wilson, a waiter at the Surf and Turf, said that at the time, he was just headed to their table to check if they needed anything.
“I saw a white Jeep just fly right past my face,” Wilson said. “It was so unreal. I saw chairs and tables and cups just flying everywhere. It just sounded like a tornado.”
Katelyn Self died on the spot. Amanda succumbed to her wounds at the hospital. His granddaughter lay on the restaurant floor, covered in blood and shaking.
“I tried to help, but there wasn’t anything I could do,” Wilson said.
Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger released the following statement: “Today we lost one of our own, Deputy Katelyn Self, in a tragic incident that occurred while she was not on duty. Katelyn has served the Sheriff’s Office for four years and was a corporal in the jail. Our hearts are broken and we ask for your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time, not only for Katelyn’s family and friends but also her brothers and sisters in uniform.”
Bessemer City Police Chief Tom Ellis said that the incident was a “tragic, tragic loss of life.”
Officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department along with several other police agencies in Gaston County offered to aid the situation.
“We’re methodically working our way through this to make sure we get the correct answers and provide justice for our citizens,” Ellis said.
The patriarch was taken into Gaston County Jail and booked without bond on two counts of first-degree murder. If Self is convicted as charged in his first court appearance on Monday, he would be facing life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
“He will be taken to the Gaston County Jail and will be brought up to court for his first appearance at 2 pm on Monday,” District Attorney Bell said.