Report - Abbey shooter had no medicine in his system

Friday, July 12, 2002

CONCEPTION, Mo. -- The 71-year-old man who opened fire last month at Conception Abbey, killing two monks and wounding two others, was not on any medication at the time of the shooting, authorities said.

Toxicology results showed that Lloyd Jeffress had no sign of Prozac or any other medicine in his system, said Sgt. Sheldon Lyon of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Jeffress had a prescription for Prozac, an anti-depressant.

Lyon also said the investigation into a motive behind Jeffress' rampage on the rural Catholic facility in northwest Missouri is ongoing, but slowing down.

"It's still an open investigation, but there aren't many new leads to follow," Lyon said. "There are a few loose ends."

Lyon said investigators plan on talking to more of Jeffress' doctors to see if they can shed any light on why he entered the abbey June 10 and shot the monks before turning the gun on himself.

Two monks killed

Jeffress killed Brother Damian Larson, 64, the abbey groundskeeper, and the Rev. Philip Schuster, 85. The Rev. Kenneth Reichert, 68, and the Rev. Norbert Schappler, 73, also were shot. Both spent weeks hospitalized before returning to Conception two weeks ago.

Law-enforcement officials have said the crimes may have stemmed from resentment Jeffress had toward the Catholic religion after a 1959 divorce. Investigators came to consider this possibility through discussions with Jeffress' estranged family members and his ex-wife.

Lyon said the case isn't an active criminal investigation because Jeffress committed suicide.

Meanwhile, more than 200 people attended a non-denominational prayer service Wednesday on the one-month observance of the slayings.

"The outpouring of prayerful support, heartfelt sympathy and hope-filled encouragement has enabled us to move forward with faith," Abbot Gregory Polan said. "We have been living on a strength that is not our own."

Survivors recuperating

He said the shootings' two survivors were recuperating well.

"I see a sparkle and strength returning to their eyes a little bit more each day," he said.

The wounded monks, who are undergoing rehabilitation in the monastery's infirmary, were able to take part in the service in wheelchairs. It was the first vespers the two had attended in the basilica since the shooting.

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