Neighbors considered shootings suspect odd, not dangerous
September 16, 1999
FORT WORTH, Texas (CNN) -- Larry Ashbrook lived with his parents when he was a teen-ager attending Fort Worth's O.D. Wyatt High School, and he continued to live with his parents until their deaths.
Neighbors who watched him grow up say he became a troubled man.
"You could see it. He was always talking to himself," said Tim Walker, a neighbor. "He would be as close as you and I, and you could see him carrying on a conversation with himself."
"He was kind of like a loner," said Jack Hord, another neighbor.
People watched in near disbelief as FBI agents, assisted by local law officers and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, carried evidence out of the Ashbrook home in a modest Fort Worth neighborhood of single-story brick houses.
Few said they thought Ashbrook was dangerous, just odd. He had trouble getting and keeping a job, and he had a habit of carrying around a dark blue canvas tote bag. No one seems to know what was inside.
The neighbors also said Ashbrook became more difficult after his mother died several years ago. Sometimes he could be heard shouting at his elderly father, who died earlier this summer.
"At the last, everybody thought he was sort of strange," said neighbor Venita Hord.
According to the FBI, shortly before the killings, Ashbrook's bizarre behavior accelerated. Agents found cement dumped down a toilet in the Ashbrook house, in addition to other damage.
"(There were) holes in the walls, furniture upside down, photographs had been hacked up," said Bob Garrity of the FBI. "He virtually destroyed the interior of his house."
Authorities did not find any recent notes or a computer or other clues that might be able to point to a motive.
Neighbors are just as puzzled.
"This is the first time something like this has happened. Very devastating," said neighbor Sam Hugie.
But happen it did, and at least one law enforcement official believes we may never know why.
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