BESSEMER CITY — A businessman with ties to Laurinburg was arrested Sunday near Gastonia for killing of two family members and injuring several others.
Gaston County Sheriff’s Office said, Roger Self, 62, intentionally plunged his SUV into a steakhouse on Sunday, killing his daughter and daughter-in-law who had been just been seated inside the restaurant with other family members.
Self is the owner of Southeastern Loss Management of Dallas, which has done business with Scottish Foods Systems in Laurinburg for two decades. Loss management is a system by which an organization locates, identifies, and finds ways to prevent circumstances that affect a business’ value, revenues, and assets.
Southeastern Loss Management included a quote from Scottish Food Systems Tom Broome in 2017 on its website.
“SLM has provided us services for over 20 years,” Broome says.”Their insight and instruction has consistently saved our company thousands of dollars in losses.”
Laurinburg Exchange reached out to Scottish Foods who declined to comment.
Local residents who had worked with and befriended Self expressed shock on Facebook Sunday afternoon when the news broke calling the incident “unreal” and wondering “what in the world happened” to cause him to act in such a manner.
Witnesses say Self entered the Surf and Turf Lodge with his family and left the dining room after they were seated. He then ran his vehicle, at high speed, into the facility killing his daughter, Katelyn Self, 26, who was a deputy with the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office, and his daughter-in-law, Amanda Self, a nurse. Amanda was married to Roger Self’s son Josh Self who is an officer with Gaston Police Department. Roger Self had also worked in law enforcement, but opened his private business in 1989.
Josh Self, his 13-year-old daughter, and Roger Self’s wife, Diane, were all seriously injured in the crash. They are expected to survive their injuries.
Roger Self, was immediately taken into custody as the investigation and rescue got under way. Early evidence points toward a deliberate act. Investigators believe he purposely drove his Jeep SUV into and through the Surf and Turf Lodge around noon.
Caleb Martin, a 14-year-old who identified himself as a busboy at the restaurant, said he saw the crash and was stunned by the suddenness of it all.
“I walked over to my station and I heard a loud boom,” Caleb told WSOC-TV. He says he did not know what to do at first, but quickly joined arriving first responders in helping those injured by clearing debris and tables away. “The one guy I could help in back, he was pretty hurt.”
Footage from the restaurant scene showed emergency responders treating people on the ground outside as shocked patrons milled about Sunday afternoon.
“He drove his car into the building, killing people, so that’s why we took him into custody immediately,” Bessemer City Police Chief Thomas Ellis Jr. said.
Self has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Police have not said what circumstances might have led up to the crash.
The Gaston Gazette reports that friends of the family stated that Self was a faithful member of his church and a family man, but that he had struggled with mental illness in recent months which “left him almost unrecognizable to those closest to him.”
They say Self disclosed his issues six months ago, but the depression had become “much worse” in the last couple of months. Friends told The Gazette reporters that Self would stay in bed for days, had become “paranoid around people,” and “felt he was evil,” far different from the person many had known for decades.
“He has been a shining light as to what it means to love people and then all of a sudden, about two months ago, it was like someone flipped a switch. I had never met this man,” said Pastor Austin Rammell, the minister of Venture Church where the Self family attended. “Taylor (Roger Self’s third child) is saying (today), ‘This is not my daddy.’”
Rammell said that Self would often twist Bible scriptures out of context.
Self had sought therapy for his condition and was on medication for anxiety but was still struggling.
“He was trying to get help,” Rammell said. “We were trying to steer him toward help.”
The sheriff’s office tweeted a photograph of Deputy Self on social media, writing, “Our hearts are broken” and saying the agency requested thoughts and prayers not only for the deputy’s family and friends but for her “brothers and sisters in uniform.”
There was no immediate count on the number of injured or the extent of the injuries.
Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169
with Associated Press and Gaston Gazette reporting