Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 | 7:30 p.m.
For years Jim McCarty hid whatever troubles that may have weighed on him behind the rhythms of normalcy.
He lived in a single-story home with his wife and her two children at 2225 La Sombra Street, an aging residential neighborhood. Neighbors say he never missed a day of work as a tractor-trailer driver, leaving each morning at 7 a.m. and coming home at 5 p.m. like clockwork. When he wasn’t at work, they saw him obsessing over his lawn making sure it stayed lush and green despite the dry desert heat. He loved that lawn.
Work and the yard, the “everyman” routine. They were his constants — until Tuesday.
That day, Catrina Garrett, who lives across the street from the family, noticed he missed work. Then, around 3:45 p.m., next-door neighbor Andrew Newkirk heard gunshots.
At first he thought they were firecrackers, but then he peeked over McCarty’s back fence. The screen door was knocked down and there was a pool of blood on the patio.
He called Metro Police. Officers entered the home and discovered three dead bodies and McCarty suffering from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. McCarty was transported to University Medical Center in critical condition and booked into Clark County Detention Center in absentia on three counts of murder with a deadly weapon.
The Clark County Coroner’s Office identified the first two victims as Jim McCarty’s stepchildren, Bonnie Scherrer, 38, and Robert Scherrer, 41. The third victim, neighbors say, is his wife, Linda McCarty.
It is impossible to know what may have caused McCarty to snap and allegedly shoot his family and then himself, but neighbors who know the family well say underneath his routine was a bleak life.
Josie Montgomery has known the McCarty’s since 1987. She said the family was always friendly, but they had their issues. His wife, Linda, suffered a stroke more than a year ago. Jim McCarty had his own battle with cancer, which went into remission last year.
Meanwhile, his two stepchildren, Bonnie and Bobby, still lived at home unemployed despite being well into adulthood.
“They’re really nice people,” Montgomery said. “I think he just snapped.”
Newkirk saw signs of trouble at the home when he first moved in nine months ago. He remembered police being called to the home after Jim McCarty fought his stepson on the front lawn. Garrett said Bonnie Scherrer often argued with her stepfather.
Still, moments that revealed a life of tension were few and far between. Newkirk remembers all the times Jim McCarty would chat with him outside, starting each conversation with “Hey bud.”
Montgomery said Jim McCarty walked Linda around the street after her stroke, taking care to make sure she didn’t fall. Garrett said she rarely heard yelling from their house.
“He’d always come out with a cup of coffee and ask how my day was going,” Newkirk said. “To see someone that nice do what he did, it’s a little freaky.”
It’s these moments that made the events that unfolded Tuesday afternoon so startling to the neighbors that knew the family. They knew the family had their issues, but nothing ever seemed out of the ordinary.
“It was horrible,” Montgomery said. “It’s like, ‘Wow…’ I know it’s going to hit me again.”
Everything seemed so normal at the house at 2225 La Sombra Way, until it wasn’t.