Former neighbors describe mass killer


MASSILLON, Ohio -- James Huberty, who walked into a San Ysidro, Calif., restaurant and shot dead 21 people before being killed by police, had always been fascinated with weapons and killing, his former neighbors and co-workers say.

'He shot my cat once,' said Simon Miller, an Amish farmer who lives across the street from Huberty's boyhood home in rural Navarre, Ohio.


'He done a lot of shooting, up here in the woods,' Miller said Thursday. 'Another time, he was shooting targets. He had a woodpile out here to aim at. He put a bullet right through my banister.'

A welder by trade, Huberty had also been licensed as a funeral director and embalmer.

'He was a loner. He didn't like being around the public, but he liked embalming,' said Don Williams, who owns a Canton, Ohio, funeral home where Huberty did his apprenticeship.

Residents of the quiet Massillon neighborhood, where Huberty lived with his wife and two daughters until they moved to California last October, Thursday described Huberty's consuming interest in guns.

Angie Goodnough, 13, a former playmate of the Huberty girls, said she often saw his gun collection spread out on a table in the home.


When the family's first Massillon home burned down in 1971, records showed he lost a gun collection that included a submachine gun, a carbine and a Browning automatic rifle.

Police records show that Huberty and his wife Etna were the subject of scores of complaints by neighbors, mostly stemming from two vicious dogs they let run loose.

The calls suddenly stopped four or five years ago, however, and some neighbors said they believed Huberty shot the animals.

Huberty was convicted in 1980 of disorderly conduct following a shouting match with a crowd at a service station, police said.

A year later Mrs. Huberty was convicted of the same charge after she pointed a semi-automatic pistol at a neighbor who had made noise while she was sleeping.

Huberty's ambition to make 'big money' may have prompted his decision to move to California, said neighbor Hilarie Zimmer.

Besides welding and embalming, Huberty built an apartment complex in Massillon, attempted to open a nursery school and spent 15 years in night school getting a sociology degree.

Terry Kelly, who worked with Huberty at a Babcock & Wilcox plant in Canton, said Huberty told him if he was ever unable to support his family he 'was going to take everyone with him. He was always talking about shooting somebody.'


Huberty had been laid off last week from his job as a security guard.

Latest Headlines


Follow Us