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Double-homicide suspect dies in hideout

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by AMANDA WINTERS
Sequim Gazette

Suspected killer John Francis Loring died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound around noon yesterday after a five-hour standoff with law enforcement in Port Angeles.

Officials believe Loring killed Ray Varney, a 68-year-old Diamond Point man, and stole his truck before driving it to his ex-girlfriend’s house on Woodcock Road and fatally shooting her son, 19-year-old David J. Randle, around 10 a.m. Tuesday.

During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict said it isn’t known how long Varney had been dead when his body was discovered inside his house Tuesday afternoon. Loring dated Varney’s daughter at some point, he said.

A manhunt ensued, leading law enforcement to a West Port Angeles apartment complex where they evacuated residents and made phone contact with Loring at 7:20 a.m. Wednesday.

Loring, 44, shot himself in the head after members of the Washington State Patrol SWAT team deployed tear gas into the building, officials said.

A bomb squad robot equipped with a camera was sent in to find Loring, who was on the bathroom floor with a phone and a handgun.

January arrest
In January, Loring was charged with unlawful imprisonment and violation of a no-contact order after allegedly holding Randle’s mother, Shellie Gillis, against her will for several hours.

According to court documents, at Loring’s preliminary hearing Jan. 5, Clallam County Prosecutor John Troberg requested bail be set at $25,000 but Superior Court Judge George Wood set bail at $5,000 and it was posted Feb. 7.

A no-contact order was entered, prohibiting Loring from contacting Gillis or going to her residence on Woodcock Road. Trial was set for March 27.

Gillis filed for a protection order from Loring Dec. 12, citing domestic violence, harassment and unpredictable behavior. The order was dropped Jan. 27 when Gillis failed to appear for a hearing on the matter in Clallam County Court.

Loring’s convictions include misdemeanor assault, domestic violence, arson and firearms possession.
Clallam County Undersheriff Ron Peregrin said local police who had encountered Loring before described him as being really into guns, though as a convicted felon he was prohibited from possessing any, dabbling with explosives and having a “survivalist mentality.”

Memorial fund established

Suzanne Rego, Randle’s aunt, said there is a memorial fund in Randle’s name at First Federal Savings and Loan to cover funeral costs and temporary living expenses for his mother and sister.

For now, Gillis and her daughter are living at a hotel because their home is riddled with bullet holes and they don’t want to live there anymore, Rego said.

A candlelight vigil for Randle is set for 7 p.m. tonight, Feb. 23, at Carrie Blake Park in Sequim.

Reach Amanda Winters at awinters@sequimgazette.com.

 

 

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