Thomas "Tres" Caffall, the man who police say killed two people—including a Texas constable—in a shooting near the Texas A&M University campus on Monday was a "ticking time bomb," his stepfather says.
"He was crazy as hell," Richard Weaver, Caffall's stepfather, told KPRC-TV. "At one point, we were afraid that he was going to come up here and do something to his mother and me."
Caffall, 35, opened fire as the Brazos County constable, Brian Bachmann, was attempting to serve him an eviction notice, College Station police said. Officers responded to the off-campus house shortly after noon following reports of shots fired, and found the 41-year-old Bachmann on the ground.
Caffall was shot during what police described as a 30-minute "gun battle." Bachmann and Caffall were taken to College Station Medical Center, where they were pronounced dead.
[Slideshow: Photos from the scene]
Chris Northcliff, a 43-year-old College Station resident, was also fatally wounded during the shooting. A 55-year-old woman who was shot underwent surgery and is listed in critical condition. Three police officers—including one who was shot in the leg—were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
"We are devastated for the families that this SOB killed," Weaver said. "He was a ticking time bomb."
Caffall's mother released a statement late Monday saying her son had "been ill."
"It breaks our hearts his illness led to this," the statement read. Weaver told KPRC that Caffall had not spoken to his mother in several months.
Though some studies suggest there is a link between mental illness and violence, "the vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent," the University of Washington said.
"The contribution of people with mental illnesses to overall rates of violence is small," an Institute of Medicine study concluded. "The magnitude of the relationship is greatly exaggerated in the minds of the general population."
That's due, in part, to high-profile mass killers like convicted Tucson, Ariz., shooter Jared Lee Loughner, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia following the shooting. And most television characters portrayed as having a mental illness engage in criminal or violent behavior, feeding the public's perception.
But according to Scientific American, severely mentally ill people account for just 3 to 5 percent of violent crimes.
Monday's shooting in College Station came a little more than a week after seven people, including the suspected gunman, were killed in a mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., and less than a month after a gunman opened fire at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater during a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises," killing 12 and wounding 58.
Last week, lawyers for James Holmes, the suspected shooter in Aurora, told a judge the 24-year-old is "mentally ill" and that they need more time to assess the nature of his illness.
According to Buzzfeed.com, Caffall's Facebook page was littered with posts about guns and politics, and photos of his firearm collection. He also posted regularly on AKFiles.com, an online gun forum.