“When he left this world, he wanted everybody to know he’d gone.”
So said Willard city manager Brian Humphress of the teenager who shot and killed one hostage and himself Wednesday night after a three-hour standoff in Willard’s Family Dollar store.
Police are still working to nail down the motive of gunman Shawn Schuett, 19, of Egypt Road, but it remains unclear if they’ll ever reach a satisfying conclusion.
“It’s becoming more and more apparent he intended it as a suicide,” Willard police chief Mark Holden said.
Holden and his officers plan to continue conducting interviews with all those involved in Wednesday’s ordeal — including several people whom Schuett called while he was inside the store.
Schuett walked into the West Walton Street Family Dollar at about 5 p.m. Wednesday, armed with a .22-caliber rifle he’d just purchased at a nearby Ace Hardware, police said.
Inside were three women who would soon become Schuett’s hostages.
Customer JoAnn Sarver, of Tiffin, escaped first, after convincing Schuett to let her “deliver his message” to the police outside, Holden said. What that message was never came to light.
Employee Dayna Goodsite, 21, of Willard, escaped next, almost three hours after Sarver. Goodsite made a break for it around 8 p.m., when Schuett momentarily dropped his gaze after shooting her co-worker, Holden said.
Assistant manager Kimberly Kelley, 48, of New Washington, was the third and final hostage. Kelley was rushed from the store in an ambulance after Schuett shot her in the head, then turned the gun on himself. She was pronounced dead soon after.
Kelley left behind a husband and three children — the youngest a high school sophomore, Holden said.
Before the incident culminated in her death, Schuett allowed Kelley to call her husband from inside the store and even spoke with him himself, the police chief said.
On Friday afternoon, Holden interviewed Schuett’s mother. Holden said he is unable to provide specifics, but Schuett’s mother discussed her son’s possible mindset.
“He had issues. We’re definitely looking into the mental illness side of the investigation,” Holden said. Investigators will also review toxicology reports to determine if illegal drugs —or a lack of appropriate medication — played into Schuett’s mental state.
Despite these possible mental health problems, Schuett was apparently eligible to lawfully purchase a firearm.
“Everything was done by the book; the gun was transacted legally,” Holden said. “He cleared a background check.”
After purchasing the weapon Wednesday afternoon, Schuett carried it down a few storefronts and entered Family Dollar. The location he chose seemed to be one of convenience, Holden said.
“Maybe he thought it was the easiest place to make his stand, maybe it’s because he didn’t want to walk that far — who knows,” Humphress said.
The Willard community is still reeling.
“When there’s no rhyme or reason to something like this, people get scared, and understandably so,” Humphress said.
In the wake of Wednesday’s tragedy, Humphress said community members’ emotions have run the gamut.
“The sadness that someone lost their life in that kind of situation, the shock — it’s hard to believe it happened here,” he said. “And just anger at the gunman.
“Unfortunately, it was one very disturbed person that took out his illness on someone else before he took it out on himself,” Humphress said.