LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - An attorney for accused TAMU-area shooter Thomas Caffall's family said Tuesday that Thomas suffered from mental problems, but would not go into details.
A former schoolmate of Caffall told us she and her childhood friends are still in disbelief over this shooting.
"Before I knew who the shooter was, I was devastated. That was just such a familiar area for me since I grew up in Bryan and went to Texas A&M University. My brother actually lived on [the street where the shooting happened] when he was a student at A&M," says Melissa Kitchens.
Melissa didn't think the news could hit closer to home, but then she recognized the shooter.
"In high school years he was on class council with me. He was in the choir. I just couldn't understand how this same person could be behind the shooting," she says.
Melissa says it has been about 15 years since she last saw Thomas Caffall. The boy she'd known as, "Trace."
"He was a very academic student, very smart, pretty quiet but nice and friendly... sweet. My mom saw his face and just immediately said, 'There's that sweet face that we knew as Trace Caffall,'" Melissa says.
Their childhood memories are now tarnished.
"He brought roses to one of my best friends in 5th grade for Valentines Day," Melissa recalls.
"I just don't know what would have lead to such destruction in his mind," she says.
Melissa says she realizes a lot of years have passed and people go down different paths.
"It's just sad to know that is the way his path led," Melissa says.
As an East Texas youth pastor, Melissa says the tragedy pushes her to talk about what happened and how it could have been avoided.
"It's just so important for teenagers and adults to know they have permission to tell authorities when they are fearful that someone could hurt others," Melissa says.
"My friends were just devastated... devastated knowing that he hurt such vulnerable and innocent human beings, and he thought that he needed to hurt others," she adds.
Melissa says the whole incident hits so close to home because she grew up in Bryan-College Station, not because she went to Texas A&M University.
She says she hopes the shooting does not give people a negative idea of A&M or Bryan High School.
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