Episcopal gunman's ex-roommate: 'He was kind'

Published On: Mar 07 2012 04:03:24 PM EST   Updated On: Mar 08 2012 12:07:00 AM EST

The 28 year old Indiana native lived in San Souci on the Southside .. about a 3 mile commute from the campus where he'd been teaching for the past year and a half.


Shane Schumerth's former roommate said she's shocked and devastated the 28-year-old killed Episcopal School of Jacksonville's head of school, Dale Regan, then killed himself Tuesday.

"The Shane we knew was not the Shane that we're hearing about today," said Mandy, who lived with Schumerth. "There had to be some type of mental, emotional, spiritual thing going on that we didn't know about."

Schumerth lived with Mandy's family for more than a year. Mandy said she watched him creating lesson plans night after night when he worked at John E. Ford Elementary School, a school he later resigned from.

"I guess there are signs, but we didn't see any when we lived with him. He was kind," she said.

Terrika Allen, a former student of Schumerth's, said she can't believe it either. She said she knows what he did was wrong, but she still wanted to post pictures of her with him to Facebook to remember the better times.

"Right now, it's just unreal. It's just not who he was, because he was always nice all the time," Allen said.

Neighbors said they had no idea Schumerth was capable of something so violent. They described him as shy, a guy who kept to himself and didn't make an attempt to get to know them.

But Schumerth's current students said they knew something wasn't right.

"He never, he didn't teach us Spanish for the past couple of weeks," student Robert Steeg said. "Instead, he was teaching us about fascism, communism, stuff that obviously you wouldn't teach in a Spanish class."

A 2007 graduate of Purdue University, Schumerth taught Spanish for several years before being hired at Episcopal in August 2010. His evaluation from Duval County Public Schools noted he "lacked enthusiasm" and "motivation."

WATCH: Who is Shane Schumerth?

Schumerth's father, Steve, who still lives in Indiana, issued a statement about the shooting.

"We are in shock and grieve for the loss of our son, and for the family, friends and acquaintances of Headmaster Dale Regan," Steve Schumerth said. "Our prayers go up for them and the entire Episcopal School family. We are deeply sorry this happened."

It's still unclear why he was fired by Regan hours before the murder-suicide.

Gene Nichols, a member of the alumni board, said Regan always did everything she could to make sure everyone was safe.

"Any decisions about hiring and firing probably would've never left Dale's office because there would also be confidentially issues as well that dale was probably not able to share with anybody, which is probably why we all know so little about what happened," Nichols said.

The timing to many is still strange, but those who knew Regan said that makes it obvious she was trying to protect her school, students and staff from Schumerth, who turned out to be a killer.


The views expressed below are not those of News4Jax or its affiliated companies. By clicking on "Post," you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and your comment is in compliance with such terms. Readers, please help keep this discussion respectful and on topic by flagging comments that are offensive or inappropriate (hover over the commenter's name and you'll see the flag option appear on right side of that line). And remember, respect goes both ways: Tolerance of others' opinions is important in a free discourse. If you're easily offended by strong opinions, you might skip reading comments entirely.

blog comments powered by Disqus