The grim-faced, heavily-tattooed suspect in Monday’s North Carolina college shooting was unrecognizable to his former classmates from high school.
Kenneth Stancil III’s family and former classmates struggled to make sense of his radical transformation from mild-mannered boy to apparent white supremacist and accused killer.
“When people started posting the mug shot, I didn’t even recognise him,” former classmate Bobbie Jo Maniscalco told Business Insider, adding that she has not not seen him since she graduated in 2010.
Pictures provided to Business Insider by Maniscalco show a quiet, unassuming young boy who displayed no outward signs of one day becoming the main suspect in a murder case.
“For the most part, he was quiet unless he was your friend,” she recalled. “He hung out with one group of guys [and] would sit and observe people.”
Stancil, who was arrested early Tuesday morning as a suspect in the killing of longtime college printshop employee Ron Layne, never found himself in any trouble more serious than smoking pot and skipping classes, Maniscalco continued.
Previous pictures of Stancil offer no hint of the shaved-head, heavily-tattooed man now known to the nation. They were taken long before he covered his face and neck in ink, including the number “88,” which is a known neo-Nazi reference to the “Heil Hitler” salute.
“The tattoos on the face were just up there since Saturday,” Stancil’s mother Debbie Stancil told WBTV. “He does his own, and they were on his chest and arms.”
A cached version of Kenneth Stancil’s Facebook page, which was disabled or deleted during the day on Monday, showed interests ranging from “White Pride” to “Hitler Adolph.”
But Maniscalco remembered a shy boy who would often turn into a wallflower if his clique would mingle with other students.
“If two groups connected he wouldn’t talk to the others,” she said.
Stancil now stands accused of gunning down a former mentor. He and Lane reportedly worked together in the printshop.
“Oh my God,” said Maniscalco, “how people can change in five years.”
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