Gunman Who Killed Six Had Threatened to Kill Many Times
MORRO BAY, Calif. (AP) _ Lynwood ″Crazy Jim″ Drake III had told many people that someday he was going to kill his enemies and himself. But he was regarded as such a ″nut″ that no one took him seriously - until it was too late.
On Saturday, the 43-year-old unemployed construction worker shot to death six people, apparently to avenge gambling losses and his eviction for nonpayment of rent, and then took his own life.
Authorities said the most recent threat came on the day of the slayings.
″Nobody, I mean nobody, called anybody about that,″ sheriff’s Sgt. Greg Beuer said. ″They knew this guy. This guy is a nut. All of them used the word nut. That’s not my word. And they didn’t believe him.″
In a suicide note he identified himself as Jesse Cole Younger, apparently referring to the Old West outlaw Coleman Younger, a member of Jesse James’ gang.
In the note, Drake harshly criticized his parents and a sister for his troubles, saying he had faced lifelong persecution. The note ended: ″They refused to help. Damn the American family to hell. God forgive me.″
The shooting rampage started in Morro Bay, a seaside resort of 10,000 about 220 miles north of Los Angeles, where Drake was known as ″Crazy Jim.″
Early in the evening, he hunted down his 80-year-old former landlord, Andy Zatko, and fatally shot him in the throat while the man was preparing dinner.
Drake then went to a second house and killed two men, one of whom had helped Zatko evict him. A fourth man was wounded.
Drake next showed up 40 miles away at a card room in Paso Robles, where he fatally shot two dealers and a customer. Investigators said Drake had lost several hundred dollars at the card tables, had unsuccessfully tried to obtain credit and was angry at the victims for telling him to stop cheating.
Hours later, authorities tracked Drake to the nearby San Miguel home of Joey Morrow, a woman he had once rented from. He shot himself to death there early Sunday as authorities using the telephone tried to get him to surrender.
Investigators said Drake wanted to kill more people - including his pastor and a day-care worker who had cared for his child - but was stymied by car trouble.
Court records show that Drake was arrested in 1991 for assaulting the day- care worker after she told him his year-old daughter had been cut in a fall. He was put on a year’s probation and ordered to complete a program for people prone to assault.
Soon after Drake was identified as a suspect in the first slayings, Morro Bay police took the day-care worker into protective custody. Authorities would not say what grudge Drake had held against the pastor, who was out of state.
Several of Drake’s acquaintances told police he had spoken of someday killing people.
Lee Broshears, a lawyer who represented Zatko in the eviction proceedings, said Drake, who was months behind in his rent, apparently never got over the eviction. His girlfriend and their daughter left around that time.
″He was such a sick person that these things kept eating away at him and eating away at him,″ Broshears said, ″and finally he went off the deep end.″