Sheriff thanks community, first responders after deadly Bessemer City tragedy

GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger delivered a message to the community at the beginning of Tuesday night's meeting of the Gaston County Commissioners.

The message came in response to what happened Sunday afternoon in Bessemer City. One of Cloninger's deputies, Katelyn Self, was killed when a car driven by her father plowed into the Surf and Turf Lodge. The deputy's brother, Gaston County Police officer Josh Self, was seriously injured in the incident. Family member Amanda Self, an ER nurse at CaroMont Regional Medical Center, was also killed.

"I wanted to thank everybody that did all they could for my deputy, for Amanda, and for Josh, and for Diane," explained Cloninger in an interview Tuesday night. "We should be proud of the efforts that were made to save these good people's lives."

Cloninger named each agency that responded to the deadly incident Sunday afternoon. He said the community should be thankful for the first responders that answered the call.

"I wanted the commissioners to know and the people to know that we're in good hands," said Cloninger. "We have great people that serve this community."

Cloninger also thanked the community for offering support in such a tragic time.

A moment of silence was held prior to the start of Tuesday's meeting. The sheriff said he has known the Self family for a long time. He said he has never known Roger Self to exhibit the behavior displayed Sunday.

"I'm totally shocked and in disbelief at what he's done," said Cloninger.

Pastor Austin Rammell with the Venture Church has said that mental illness was to blame for Sunday's violence. Cloninger said he couldn't speak much to that claim because the investigation into the incident is still active.

"I would be speculating," Cloninger told WBTV.

Jeremy Willis, a family friend of the Self family, said he does think mental illness played a role in what transpired.

"When I seen that picture and I seen him in that courtroom, that ain't the man I used to talk to in my driveway," said Willis regarding Roger Self.

Willis said he used to lived next to Josh Self and his wife Amanda. He said he was shocked and saddened to hear about what had happened.

"I hate to see people go through that. I could never imagine my kids losing their mom," said Willis.

The family friend asked that the community retrain from passing judgment and continue to keep the family uplifted in prayer.

In his interview with WBTV, Cloninger issued a farewell message to Katelyn Self.

"I was proud of you girl. Gonna miss you."

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