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Preacher: Maxwell was mentally ill

Rev. John Cook attempted to explain to mourners how a Fayetteville man could have killed his family and himself.

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Family and friends of a slain Fayetteville family shared memories Friday at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church.

Police said William "Billy" Maxwell Jr., 47, shot and killed his wife Kathryn, daughter Connor and son Cameron before turning the gun on himself Monday evening.

Rev. John Cook attempted to explain to mourners how the tragedy came to pass.

"We have concluded that Billy was suffering from some sort of mental illness," he said.

Billy Maxwell had recently admitted to thinking irrational thoughts, Cook said, and knew "some of his thoughts might not make sense."

Cook said he talked to the family Monday afternoon, and Billy Maxwell agreed to get help.

"We had every indication there would be a Tuesday," he said.

The family was well known at the church, where, friends said, the siblings were involved in the youth ministry and the youth choir, and their father was a deacon.

Individual mourners shared their memories of the Maxwells.

“We shared many hours on the basketball court that we talked trash about and laughed about and reminisced about," friend George Rose said of Billy Maxwell.

“The lady could iron like nobody's business,” a friend said of Kathryn Maxwell.

"She loved grits, broccoli and cheddar soup and her grandmother's cooking,” a friend said of 17-year-old Connor.

“He was a coach's dream,” a basketball teammate said of Cameron, 15.

Cook encouraged mourners to remember Billy Maxwell as a good Christian man who treasured his family.

“All of us – including those closest to Billy – didn't know how sick he was," he said.


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