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Ex-roommate: school shooter believed government 'put satellites in his head’

Ex-roommate: school shooter believed government 'put satellites in his head’

O'Rourke's ex-roommate extended telephone interview with News 8
AUDIO:  mp3

CARLSBAD (CBS 8) - The former roommate of the man accused in a school shooting at a Carlsbad elementary school last Friday is talking to News 8 about a history of strange behavior.

News 8 spoke to 41-year-old Brendan O'Rourke's former roommate in Springfield, Illinois. The man, who did not want to be identified, says his family was harassed by O'Rourke several years ago.

O'Rourke worked answering customer service calls at NTN Buzztime in Carlsbad. The company makes video trivia games installed mainly in bars and nightclubs.

When News 8 called O'Rourke's work telephone extension, we heard his voicemail.  It begins, "Hello, you have reached customer service representative Brendan O'Rourke."  It ends, "Thank you and have a nice day."

Brendan O'Rourke voicemail greeting

Friday was anything but a nice day for the children at Kelly Elementary School in Carlsbad. That's when police say O'Rourke brought a .357 caliber handgun on campus and started shooting, wounding two young girls. Police still don't know why O'Rourke picked Kelly Elementary, but the school is along a likely route O'Rourke would have driven home on his daily commute.

O'Rourke's former roommate in Springfield, Illinois is all too familiar with O'Rourke's history of strange behavior.

"It was more paranoia. He would say odd things like the government put satellites in his head and that I would control him, or different people in his life controlled him," the roommate told News 8.

The roommate ended up evicting O'Rourke in 2002, and then misdemeanor charges were filed when O'Rourke started making harassing telephone calls.

"He started to call my sister and my mother and just say odd, strange things," the man said. "He would just constantly call and hang up, call and hang up, and I'm not talking one time a night. I'm talking 25 to 30 times a night."

O'Rourke moved to Oceanside in 2009. Police incident reports show Oceanside officers responded to his apartment three times earlier this year to complaints of yelling obscenities, threats of violence and racial slurs.

In all three cases, officers reported they were unable to contact O'Rourke by knocking on his apartment door.  No arrests were made and no citations were issued.

The former roommate said O'Rourke was not a church-going man when they lived together; nor did O'Rourke own a gun.

"He never had a weapon, never owned a weapon in this house. I don't allow that," the ex-roommate said.

News 8 has also learned O'Rourke's father was a well-known California politician. Lawrence W. O'Rourke -- a Pearl Harbor survivor -- worked for nearly three decades as a city manager and administrator in the California cities of Montclair, Tehachapi, Turlock and the City of Commerce before his death in 2002.

The alleged gunman's mother, brother and a disabled sister currently live in Springfield, Illinois. They have not responded to phone messages.

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