North Carolina authorities have yet to discuss a motive but confirm that a prominent local businessman faces two counts of first-degree murder after allegedly crashing his Jeep into a restaurant where his family was eating together, killing his sheriff’s deputy daughter and his daughter-in-law, an accomplished nurse.
PEOPLE learns that Roger Self, 62, was a regular at the Surf and Turf Lodge in Bessemer City and had asked several relatives to meet him there for lunch on Sunday afternoon.
At 12:04 p.m., Self allegedly excused himself from the table. His family assumed he went to use the bathroom — instead, he got behind the wheel of his white Jeep and plowed into the eatery at the exact spot where they were sitting, Bessemer City Police Chief Tom Ellis alleged to reporters at a news conference on Sunday.
Self’s 26-year-old daughter, Katelyn Self, was killed in the crash, Ellis said. She was a deputy with the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office and was preparing for her wedding in September.
Ellis said the collision also killed Amanda Self, a nurse and the wife of Gaston County Police Officer Josh Self, Roger’s son.
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Josh was seriously injured in the incident, as was Roger’s wife, Diane Self, and Amanda and Josh’s 13-year-old daughter. All three are expected to make full recoveries.
Other relatives present at the restaurant were uninjured, Ellis told reporters.
In a statement, Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger mourned Katelyn’s death, saying she had “served the Sheriff’s Office for four years and was a corporal in the jail.”
“Our hearts are broken and we ask for your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” he said, “not only for Katelyn’s family and friends, but also her brothers and sisters in uniform.”
Ellis said the incident was a “tragic, tragic loss of life.”
“We’re methodically working our way through this to make sure we get the correct answers and provide justice for our citizens,” he said.
Roger, a former police officer who owned a successful private investigation and loss management company, was taken into custody soon after the crash and is being held without bond.
He has not yet entered pleas to the charges he faces and did not have an attorney of record on Monday morning.
If convicted, he faces life in prison.
The family’s minister told the Gaston Gazette that Roger had been grappling with escalating mental health issues in recent months and friends quoted by the outlet said he was depressed, paranoid and withdrawn.
“He and his entire family were at church this morning,” Pastor Austin Rammell said. “They took up an entire row.”