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Texas Gunman Tied to Hate Groups; Writings Show Persecution Feelings

Rampage: Fuller profile of Ashbrook emerges from those who had met him. Churches, schools bring in counselors to help students deal with their emotions.

September 18, 1999|CLAUDIA KOLKER and ERIC SLATER | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Ashbrook also wrote two agitated letters touching on the CIA, oppressive co-workers and fears of false criminal accusation to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram this summer. He also paid a visit to the newspaper's office, meeting City Editor Stephen Kaye within the last few weeks.

"He was very cordial. He was very apologetic for bothering me," Kaye told Associated Press, adding that he told Ashbrook it was hard to help with his numerous concerns.

To both journalists, Ashbrook complained that no one seemed to take him seriously. The complaint was to resurface even in his final ramblings, when some members of the congregation, confused, thought he was part of a religious skit.

"This is real!" Ashbrook reportedly shouted as he fired.

Two days later, Fort Worth's survivors are still coming to terms with how very real the mayhem was.

The gunman's brother and two sisters released a statement, offering prayers for the victims and the Wedgwood congregation. "We know that there can never be a satisfactory explanation for this action," they said. "We only know that we are heartsick along with everyone in Fort Worth and the nation."

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