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Family's pastor: Dad's mental illness to blame for 'insane and evil' crash into restaurant

Dad accused of plowing car into restaurant, killing daughter, injuring others

Two people are dead and others are injured after a man crashed a car into Surf and Turf Lodge, a Bessemer City restaurant, around noon Sunday. The driver killed his daughter in the crash.
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Two people are dead and others are injured after a man crashed a car into Surf and Turf Lodge, a Bessemer City restaurant, around noon Sunday. The driver killed his daughter in the crash.

The man who rammed a Jeep into a Bessemer City restaurant Sunday, killing two family members, was suffering from mental illness, his family's pastor said Monday.

Roger Self's mental state had gone from "bad to really bad" in the days before Sunday's lunch at the Surf and Turf Lodge, the Rev. Austin Rammell said.

"His family and close friends have intensely labored to try and get Roger help. ... At the end of the day, we were all unable to help our friend," he said.

Sunday afternoon, Self got up from the table where his extended family had gathered and returned in the SUV, Rammell said. His wife and son were badly injured, and his daughter Katelyn and daughter-in-law Amanda were killed.

He "deeply loved" both women who died, Rammell said.

Self, 62, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Katelyn Self planned the lunch, which also included her fiance and his parents. She worked for the Gaston County Sheriff's Office, and her fiance, Alex Burns, is a Gastonia police officer, the pastor said.

Amanda Self was an emergency room nurse at Caromont Health in Gastonia, where her husband, Gaston County police officer Josh Self, is in critical but stable condition and improving, Rammell said.

They have two children, who were with them at the restaurant, he said. Both are OK and in the care of family members.

Diane, Roger Self's wife, is in critical but stable condition at Carolinas Medical Center, Rammell said.

Roger Self was well-respected in the Dallas community, and Sunday's "absolutely insane and evil" act was not like the Roger everyone knew, he said.

Roger Self was facing some stress this spring, the pastor said, but nothing worse than what he'd encountered before in life. He said the father and grandfather had asked family members to take away his guns and help him with his business, because he knew he was struggling.

A judge decided to hold Roger Self without bond Monday. Dressed in a orange jail jumpsuit, he did not speak in court aside from answering the judge's questions. He was represented by a public defender.

The double homicide has attracted national attention, including from The Washington Post, and it's shaken the Dallas-Gastonia area, where many people knew members of the Self family. Memorial plans are still underway.

Jane Wester: 704-358-5128, @janewester
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