Friend says cop killer was nice guy
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- No clear motive has been revealed in the shooting that left one law enforcement officer dead, another in grave condition and a third wounded.
The suspect in the shooting, 52 year old Rick Liles apparently took his own life after other law enforcement officers riddled his mobile home with some 2 hundred bullets.
Carol Knoy a friend of the family who says she knew Rick Liles since he was a teen-ager growing up in Dinuba says he was not a violent person.
"It just doesn't sound like Rick. Not the Rick I know." She said.
Knoy said she had not been particularly close to Rick in recent years, but saw him on occasion.
"Every time I saw him he gave me a hug. Asked how the family was. He was just a really nice guy. He wasn't real outgoing but he was nice, respectful. This just blew me away that he would do this."
Knoy says she contacted family members after hearing about the shooting. She says one of Lile's brothers told her the family was at a loss to explain what happened.
"He said I have no idea. I don't know. We don't know why he would do this." She said. Liles opened fire on sheriff's deputies who had kicked in the front door of his home while trying to serve a search warrant. They apparently wanted to question Lile's regarding a series of suspicious fires in the Minkler area.
But Liles landlord, Charlie Minkler says he rented a mobile home to Liles for more than nine years and had no problems with him. Minkler says he hadn't linked Liles to the fires in the area , or to random gunshots which had hit the town's general store. One of the bullets grazed Minkler's wife. But he said he didn't know why law enforcement officers came to see Liles.
"I had no idea. The hearing of a warrant, them serving a warrant on him was a total surprise...a total surprise," Minkler said.
Another neighbor, Josh Moore said there had been lots of problems in the small community. Fires, random gunshots. But also didn't think Liles was responsible.
"I really thought it was these people over there." He said, referring to another house. " Because," he said, "They had some shootings over here awhile ago. Gang related, they were shooting each other."
But another neighbor, Jeff Rodenbeck, says there had been rumors about Lile's behavior.
"I heard small things of him having arson tendencies and things like that so I figured he was a little bit crazy."
Investigators say that after Thursdays shooting Lile's wife, Dianne told them he had been recently depressed and was taking several medications. Carol Knoy thinks that might explain why an otherwise nice and seemingly normal man would do something like this.
"I still think the medication played a big part in this. Maybe I'm wrong." Know said.
Law enforcement investigators say Lile's wife also told them he had been taking pain medication for a back problem that had caused him to go on disability, and leave his former job as a security guard.
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