GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A man accused of killing his daughter and daughter-in-law when he plowed through a Gaston County restaurant after church Sunday was suffering from severe mental illness, the family's pastor said in a press conference Monday morning.
Pastor Austin Rammell spoke around 11 a.m. at Venture, where he described Roger Self as a man who was well respected in the community and an "icon" for decades.
Self is accused of intentionally driving into Bessemer City Surf and Turf, where his family and in-laws were dining around noon Sunday.
Self's daughter, 26-year-old Katelyn Self, was killed in the incident. Roger Self's daughter-in-law, Amanda Self, was also killed. Amanda Self is married to Roger Self's son, Josh Self, who was injured in the incident. He is in critical but stable condition.
Roger Self "deeply loved his family, he deeply loved the daughter he killed and he deeply loved the daughter-in-law he killed," Rammell said.
Roger Self's wife, Diane Self, was also seriously injured in the incident. She remains in critical but stable condition at the hospital.
"This is the opposite of who this man is," Rammell said. Roger Self was a police officer for nearly four years in the city of Gastonia, worked with Belk and eventually started his own company that focused on corporate investigations, Rammell said.
He said the man he's known for 16 years recently took a serious turn within the past couple of days. He says Roger suffered from severe depression and severe anxiety. "And by severe, I mean severe," Rammell said.
"He has walked with people through some of the darkest times imaginable," Rammell said. "What happened yesterday was a testimony of mental illness."
Roger Self's family was trying to seek help for him. His situation got serious about two and a half months ago, according to Rammell. "We immediately tried to point him towards help."
Rammell addressed a rumor that Roger had a brain tumor, saying that is not the case. He says Roger was on medication, which may have made matters worse.
Rammell said he and the family realized how serious Roger Self's situation was when he asked Josh to "please come take all my firearms."
Others dining at the restaurant included Roger Self's other daughter, Taylor Self-Potter, her husband and their daughter. Rammell says they were not injured.
Katelyn Self set up the family lunch Sunday to have a good time with her dad and family after church, Rammell said. Katelyn's fiance, officer Alex Burns, is grieving as expected. "He was sitting beside his fiance and then she was gone," Rammell said.
Rammell says Roger Self's mental state carried him to the horrific act.
The family hopes to gain clarity. "I pray we as a society we can get serious about mental health," Rammell said. "Who do you call when you wake up every morning and you feel like somebody has a gun to your head and is about to squeeze the trigger?" Rammell asked.
"My message to him [Roger Self] is very simple: I love you," Rammell said.