Gunman kills 4 near church, then self
SASH, Texas (AP) -- A gunman killed four people near a small-town church, then killed himself early Monday after a nine-hour standoff with police, authorities said.
Police said witnesses told them that Freddie L. Cranshaw, who lived across the street from the Sash Assembly of God, exchanged words in the church parking lot Sunday night with church member Wes Brown, who asked Cranshaw to leave.
Cranshaw, 54, who authorities said had only a partial right arm, returned a short time later and shot Brown, 61, at close range, and then shot the pastor, James Armstrong, 42, witnesses said.
Deputies found both men dead in a grassy area next to the parking lot, Fannin County Sheriff Kenneth Moore said.
Cranshaw then drove to an intersection, where he shot at a truck towing a horse trailer and then killed the two women in the truck after they tried to flee and hide. Witnesses told police they could hear the women screaming, authorities said.
Police identified the women as Ceri Litterio, 46, and Holly Love Brown, 50.
"We believe it was just random," Moore said of the women's slayings. "They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Police said they believe Cranshaw then returned home, pausing along the way to shoot at a house near the church but not hitting anyone.
A 10-member SWAT team made two attempts to enter Cranshaw's house but retreated when he shot at them, Moore said.
Police finally entered the house about 6 a.m. after firing tear gas inside. Cranshaw was found in a bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head, Moore said. Police said they believe Cranshaw had shot himself up to an hour earlier.
The guns apparently used in the shootings -- a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol and a .38-caliber revolver -- were found in the house, along with a shotgun, rifle and ammunition, Moore said.
Grady Pior, who lives across from Cranshaw and next door to the church, said he and his wife had called police a couple of times about Cranshaw's disruptive behavior. He said Cranshaw would shout obscenities at them and fire a gun, but authorities never arrested him because he stayed within the bounds of his property.
Pior said he learned from church members that Cranshaw had left rambling, nonsensical notes on their cars and cursed and yelled at them as they left services. Pior said he had started carrying a gun when he mowed his yard in case of a confrontation with Cranshaw.
"I feel guilty about not being home to help somebody," Pior said. "He's the only person in my life that I've had a strange feeling about."
Moore said the shootings had shaken Sash, a community of 300 people about 120 miles north of Dallas, near the Oklahoma state line.
"It's a tragic situation," he said.
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If someone had an idea that this guy was not right in the head (based on the "nonsensicle notes"), and that he had firearms ("would fire a gun"), wouldn't it had been a good idea to alert DPS?
I know, hindsight is 20-20.