Texas gunman's illness led to shooting, mother says

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 14, 2012 6:13 PM
Texas gunman's illness led to shooting, mother says

By Jim Forsyth

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - A gunman who killed a law enforcement officer and a bystander near Texas A&M University on Monday before he was shot and killed by police had suffered from mental health issues, his mother said on Tuesday.

"He had been ill. It breaks our hearts his illness led to this," Linda Weaver said in a brief statement about her son, 35-year-old Thomas Alton Caffall III, whom she called Tres.

The statement, released by her attorney, did not say what kind of illness Caffall had, but Weaver told CNN her son had struggled with mental health issues for years and the family became worried about him after he quit his job in January.

"We had been very concerned about him," Weaver told CNN.

Caffall opened fire from inside his rental home on Monday as Constable Brian Bachmann approached to serve an eviction notice, setting off a half-hour gunbattle that ended when police shot and killed him, police said. Bachmann, 41, also died, as did a 51-year-old bystander, Chris Northcliffe.

Four other people were wounded in the shoot-out, which came as the nation was already on edge over gun violence following two recent mass shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin.

The wounded include three police officers and a mother who was helping her college student daughter move before the start of classes, police said. The mother, Barbara Holdsworth, 51, of Houston, was in a hospital in serious condition on Tuesday.

Much about the incident remains unclear, including what prompted Caffall to open fire on the constable. Several days earlier, Caffall's landlord had filed "forcible entry and detainer" petition, which authorized Bachmann to evict Caffall from the rented home, county records show.

There was no record of any previous police calls made to Caffall's home southwest of the Texas A&M campus.

Patrick Clark, Caffall's brother-in-law in College Station, said he had not seen Caffall in several months.

"We are extremely upset for the victim's families," Clark told Reuters. "I don't think anybody should worry about our grief. Our thoughts are only for the people whose lives he ruined."

Bachmann was elected constable as a Republican in 2010. He became a patrol deputy in 1995, and for several years he served on the Brazos County Narcotics Task Force, winning awards for his anti-drug efforts.

(Editing By Corrie MacLaggan and Cynthia Johnston; Desking by Cynthia Osterman)