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Shooting victims to be remembered at services
The family and friends of David Randle and Ray Varney will hold memorial services this week in Sequim.
Varney, 68, died around Feb. 18 from gunshot wounds and Randle, 19, died Feb. 21 also from gunshot wounds, said Ron Cameron, Clallam County Sheriff’s chief criminal deputy.
John Francis Loring, 44, is suspected of killing them before turning his gun on himself during a standoff with police Feb. 23.
Loring dated Varney’s daughter, Andrea Varney, and Randle’s mother, Shellie Gillis.
Andrea Varney said she and Loring dated from 2006-2011 and she knew him to be charming. Her father and Loring were friendly and she spoke with Loring just a few days before Randle was killed. The morning of Feb. 20 he left a message on her phone that didn’t make sense, she said. She believes methamphetamine was involved in causing Loring to snap.
“It was not the John I knew,” she said.
Gillis filed for a protection order against Loring in December 2011 and in January got a court order prohibiting him from coming near her or her home pending his trial for allegedly holding her against her will at a house in Sequim and possessing a gun, according to court documents.
Gillis said her son just got a new truck and his first car stereo system shortly before he was killed. He worked as a union apprentice and was respected by his co-workers, she said.
While he got into some trouble during middle school and the beginning of high school, he turned his life around after attending a boot camp where he became the only 15-year-old ever to lead a platoon for the entire duration of the camp, she said.
“David is, was, and always will be a rock in this town for these kids,” she said.
The night before he died, he introduced three friends as his “boys.” The three, Nick Spencer, 20, Jimmy Byers, 18, and Tyler Davis, 19, made T-shirts with Randle’s photo and the phrase “the boys.”
“I love these kids, these are my sons,” Gillis said of the three friends.
She said she is very concerned people who weren’t actually his friends and hadn’t been a part of his life for the past couple of years might be trying to cash in on the spotlight. She also doesn’t appreciate speculation about how she ran her household.
“Dealing with the loss of my son, who was becoming an upstanding citizen, I don’t appreciate the negative remarks from outsiders when he was a rock and a hero,” she said.
Spencer, said Randle was “a protector” who cared about his mom and sister, Victoria LaCroix, more than anything.
Byers, who lived with Randle at Gillis’ home for a while, said Randle woke up singing every day and would sing to his dog, Leroy. Spencer said Randle’s happiest time was in the morning and he’d always be ready to go get started on the day.
Close to 300 people attended a candlelight vigil for Randle on Feb. 23. Though they wish they had been the ones to hold it, Spencer said it was too soon; they were glad to see how many people came.
“It was just how David would’ve wanted it,” Spencer said.
“He would’ve been glad to see how many people cared about him,” Byers said.
Family and friends established two funds to collect donations for Randle’s memorial service and burial arrangements. Both are under his name, David J. Randle, at First Federal and Wells Fargo banks.
Donation jars also have been set out to collect money to cover costs, Spencer said. The jars can be found in Sequim at Reef Tanning, A1 Auto, Kettel’s 76 Station, Ohana Coffee, 101 Outpost, 101 Diner, Mariner Cafe, Chinese Garden, Domino’s Pizza, Loan Zone and Pawn, Hardy’s Market 2, Westside Pizza and Jiffy Lube.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at King’s Way Foursquare Church, 1023 Kitchen-Dick Road, in Sequim.
Andrea Varney was born on her father’s birthday, which helped her understand his split Gemini personality, she said.
For her 40th birthday he came to Sequim for a joint celebration and after that decided to relocate to Sequim from Hillsberg, Calif., she said.
Andrea Varney described her dad as a “ZZ Top-looking” man with a long white beard. Ray Varney was rough around the edges with a passion for woodwork, she said.
Her favorite picture of him shows him and his girlfriend on his Harley in South Dakota. Ever since she and her brother, Anthony Varney, were children their father always had a Harley, she said.
The day before Ray Varney was found dead in his Diamond Point home, he became a grandfather for the third time when Anthony Varney’s son, Wyatt Anthony Ray Varney, was born.
Andrea Varney said Ray Varney also had one great-grandchild.
A service for Ray Varney will be held at 1 p.m. today, Feb. 29, at the Seventh-day Adventist Church, 30 Sanford Lane, in Sequim.
Andrea Varney said she will keep her father’s ashes until she can place them in a Veterans Administration cemetery.
He served in the U.S. Army starting in 1961 and she still has a picture of him in his uniform.
“He looked so handsome,” she said.
Reach Amanda Winters at email@example.com.