Episcopal killer seen laughing, smiling in audition video
Spanish teacher shot head of Episcopal School hours after he was fired
A video of the man who shot the head of Episcopal School of Jacksonville on Tuesday just hours after she fired him from a teaching position is seen laughing and smiling on a video recorded a month ago as he recited Hamlet and improvised during an audition for a movie role.
To see Shane Schumerth in the audition video obtained by Channel 4, there's no indication he could be a killer. Police say the 28-year-old brought an AK-47 hidden in a guitar case into the administrative offices of Episcopal School on Tuesday, fired several shots, killing head of school Dale Regan, then himself.
Late Wednesday, the school released a statement saying Schumerth was fired for "failing to meet the expectations of the school and was repeatedly counseled for issues associated with attendance and a lack of timeliness in complying with the requirements of the position."
According to the school, the dismissal took place away from students and with a witness, saying Schumerth was told "in the most compassionate way possible and was offered separation pay."
"As someone who worked closely with Dale on school matters, I can tell you that Dale dearly loved her faculty," said the Rev. Kate Moorehead, dean of St. John's Cathedral. "She was always intent on not only addressing a situation legally, but in ensuring that we considered the personal impact on the employee. She lived her faith in the way that she led the school."
Channel 4 obtained exclusive video of Schumerth auditioning for an independent film here in Jacksonville.
While his students and others have described Schumerth as socially awkward, he appeared comfortable, even gregarious as he auditioned for an independent film role. The person who provided the 10-minute video to Channel 4 said Schumerth showed up to an open audition wearing a hat and a black soccer jersey.
"My name is Shane Schumerth. I'm actually 28 years old and teach Spanish, so usually I'm in front of people, often performing: This is how you conjugate the A-R verbs (speaking Spanish)."
Channel 4's source said it appeared Schumerth talks a lot about improvisation and was quite animated as he talked about his acting experiences, gave a monologue and spoke with a Russian accent.
Then the director asks Schumerth to laugh -- saying it's important for the role -- but it was clear he found it awkward. He did not get the part.
Later in the audition video, Schumerth talks about the difference between teaching high schoolers and middle schoolers.
"I think high school is better because you can kind of reason with them," Schumerth said. "I think middle school is a little bit like, 'Stop it now or I'll email your father.'"
Filmmaker Dan McCarthy, who produced the audition video, talked Thursday about his experience with Schumerth.
"Basically, what I've been feeling since yesterday afternoon after seeing the audition a few times and remembering it, I almost want there to be a sign, want him to act peculiar and say something to point at and say, 'There's something wrong with that guy,' but there's not, and it makes you feel powerless about the world. Nothing you can do about it," McCarthy said.
As the school prepares for a Friday morning memorial service on campus, counseling will be available in the library again Thursday and volunteers will begin painting rocks that will be used during the service.