COLUMBIA, S.C. — The man who killed his wife, ex-girlfriend and two others before committing suicide in South Carolina occasionally repaired glass at the local police department and was struggling financially before the slayings, a friend said.
The sister of the suspect's ex-girlfriend, however, described him as controlling and short-tempered.
Wagener police officer Michael Rushton — who was among many officers trying to capture Kenneth Myers on Saturday — told The Aiken Standard that he had known Myers for eight years and that the man appeared to be a loving father. He said Myers had told him that the bad economy had cut into his auto glass repair business and that he had been having relationship troubles with his wife.
"At one point in time, whenever he tried to evade us, I saw his face for a brief second, and you could tell he was a different person," Rushton said. "He had gotten to the point where he thought he had nothing else to lose. He figured he was done for, I'm assuming, and I really hate that he had done what he had done."
Myers led police back to the home where he killed his wife and her relatives, committing suicide with one gunshot, authorities said.
Two days after the killing spree in Aiken County, investigators haven't figured out exactly why Myers snapped. He first killed his wife, 25-year-old Angela Myers; her twin sister, Tabitha Brown; and her mother, 50-year-old Vicki Brown. Their bodies were found around 6 p.m. Saturday, all shot in the head, investigators said.
Seven hours later, officers checking on Myers' ex-girlfriend found her dead, too. Esther Baldwin, 47, was shot in a similar fashion, authorities said.
Baldwin's sisters tried to reach her for hours after learning her ex-boyfriend was part of a massive manhunt. They went to her home shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday and were told by officers about her death.
Myers had a quick temper during his seven years with Baldwin, threatening her life as their relationship fell apart, her sister Dinah Baldwin told WRDW-TV.
"He made her quit her job, couldn't cut her hair, couldn't wear makeup, wouldn't let her visit her family," she said.
Rushton occasionally did work for the Wagener Police Department, but the bad economic times ate into his income, Rushton said. Still, Myers' financial and personal struggles were no excuse for what deputies say he did over the weekend, Rushton said.
"He's always been the type of fellow, you could tell he was very independent, but, at the same time, he did have a big heart," Rushton said. "But I think it had been torn apart in his eyes, and it's just a terrible situation."
Robin Halsey, who was a neighbor of Myers, told WRDW that only days ago the shooting, the suspect had discussed how he was feeding a "little stray dog."
"He was talking about how he was going to catch it and take it home and try to save its life, and he was saying, 'I don't see how people can just throw a stray dog out on the street,'" she added.
The Associated Press and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.