McCoy Largely Unnoticed in Life

Until he became the subject of a nationwide manhunt, Charles A. McCoy Jr. (searchappeared to be living an unremarkable life.

His neighbors didn't even know his name until they saw his picture on news reports linking him to two dozen sniper shootings (searchin Ohio. The owner of a bowling alley where he would play some Friday nights couldn't recall anything about him but his face. His high school wrestling coach remembered him as a normal teenager. He had no arrest record.

Yet the man who escaped attention from his peers apparently did nothing special to hide once investigators identified him as a suspect in the deadly spree. McCoy, 28, was arrested early Wednesday at a low-budget Las Vegas (searchmotel after a tipster spotted him at a casino reading a newspaper with his picture on it.

The arrest was a relief to Ohio residents who had been unnerved since the 24 shootings began in the Columbus area last year. One person was killed.

Authorities said McCoy had stopped taking medication for a mental illness, and a law enforcement alert called him a danger to himself and others. His family disputed that he was dangerous.

"This is certainly not the Charles that we knew," his brother-in-law, Tye Walton, told CBS's "The Early Show" on Wednesday. "We never saw him as an aggressive individual, never violent in any way."

Jen Frisby, who dated McCoy on and off from 1999 to 2001, told The Columbus Dispatch that she learned from his family that he was being treated for paranoid schizophrenia (search), and his illness was obvious during their relationship.

"Once he told his parents not to use any electrical appliances because they were using them to watch him," Frisby said. "He was afraid the FBI was after him. He would sometimes think cameras were in the walls."

Authorities would not confirm that McCoy was schizophrenic. There were no court orders on record regarding commitment or medication. McCoy's family could not be reached by The Associated Press, and Frisby's telephone number was unlisted.

"There was nothing unusual about him," said Maurice Stevens, who coached McCoy when he was a freshman wrestler at Grove City High School.

"Everything that happened, I think has happened because of the illness he had," Stevens said, referring to reports of McCoy's mental problems. "It's a horrible thing to happen, to all the victims of the shootings. And it's a horrible thing to happen to him."

Frisby told the newspaper that McCoy, who lived with his mother, mostly played video games in his parents' basement and didn't leave the house much. McCoy and some friends would bowl on Friday nights, said Charles Buhrts, manager of the Rainbow Lanes near McCoy's home.

"We don't pay attention unless they cause a problem," he said, adding he hadn't seen McCoy for about five months.

McCoy left home Friday to go to an arcade after withdrawing $600 from the bank, according to a missing persons report his mother filed.

He was in Las Vegas for about a day, gambling at a casino, before a tipster spotted him and called authorities. Police said McCoy was unarmed and cooperative.

If convicted, McCoy would be a "classic example" of someone who becomes violent after stopping treatment for a mental illness, said Mary Zdanowicz, executive director of the Virginia-based Treatment Advocacy Center.

"So much I've read about this man is so typical of what we see here: Somebody living in the basement or in a back bedroom who's totally incapacitated by this illness."