She was part angel. There was something about her that was not part of this world. When you saw her, you saw something different.

­Michelle Henry,

a sophomore deaf education major and close friend


Kim Jones, a December 1998 TCU graduate, died Wednesday evening after a gunman opened fire at Wedgwood Baptist Church in southwest Fort Worth, killing seven people and injuring seven others.
Campus grieves church tragedy
Friends remember slain alumna whose love touched many lives

By Steven Baker

and Stephen Suffron

staff reporters

Every lifetime, a person comes along with a smile so brilliant and a purpose so clear she cannot help but make a positive impact on everyone she meets.

According to friends, Kim Jones was one of those people.

"She was just an all-around amazing person," one friend said. "She did everything she could to put God in people's lives."

Jones, who graduated from TCU last December with a speech communication degree, was one of seven victims shot down Wednesday at Wedgwood Baptist Church, where she worked with youth.

Her brother, Tim Jones, is a junior at TCU and a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.

Kim Jones came to TCU in the fall of 1994 and pledged Delta Gamma.

After her sophomore year, Jones started a Bible study in her chapter and continued to lead weekly meetings even as a graduate this fall. Members said the group has grown from Jones and another Delta Gamma member to a weekly event that attracts about 20 women from several different sororities.

After graduating, she spent last spring in the Netherlands on a mission trip. She returned to the United States in May and enrolled at Southwestern Theological Seminary in the fall to pursue a master's of divinity.

To those who knew her, Jones' life and sudden death have left a deep impression.

"It's hard to talk about her in the past tense," said former TCU faculty member Joyce Allman, now the assistant dean of arts and sciences at the University of Oklahoma. "She was very vivacious - absolutely joyful and not at all ashamed of her Christianity."

Allman, who taught Jones in an advanced public speaking course last fall, said Jones' life proved to her God's power to change people.

"She would tell you that if you knew her before, you wouldn't believe (the change)," she said. "Her enthusiasm for Jesus was just so evident in her life. I can tell you the difference Jesus makes in your life."

Jones' sisters at the Delta Gamma house welcomed the opportunity to discuss Jones' impact on their lives.

The porch in front of the sorority house was filled with teary-eyed sisters reflecting on the loss. Inside, four members sat on a couch and remembered the smile that touched each of their lives. The women had seen her less than 24 hours before her death at their Tuesday night Bible study.

Erica Finazzo, a sophomore nursing major, said Jones' last message was one they would never forget.

The lesson came from Psalm 139, verse 16: "Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to me."

"She wanted to make sure that we knew that God was in control of everything in our lives," Finazzo said.

Katie Henderson, a sophomore radio-TV-film major, said the relevancy of the message to Wednesday's events proved to her that God knew what was going to happen.

The mood was somber as the women fought the tears that had come so easily since they heard the news early Thursday morning. But as they discussed the way Jones could brighten even the worst days, they found that even her memory could have the same effect.

"She was part angel," said Michelle Henry, a sophomore deaf education major. "There was something about her that was not part of this world. When you saw her, you saw something different."

Sophomore marketing major Shalene Kelly said her unique glow came from a divine source.

"You were around her, and you were in the presence of God," she said.

That difference was her deep love for others, especially her brother, Henry said.

"I know the one person that meant more to her in this world than anyone else was her brother Tim," she said. "She loved him so much. Every person that came in contact with Kim - if they talked to her long enough, she would bring up her brother, because he meant so much to her."

The women said they took comfort in the fact that Jones died while doing what she loved.

"If Kim had to be taken out of this world, there is no other way that she would have wanted to go than praising God," Kelly said.

Although she is gone, she will continue to impact the lives of those who knew her, the Delta Gamma members said.

"Everybody she knew, she gave a little piece of herself to," Finazzo said. "And I think that all of us were blessed to have that little piece with us and to share that with other people."

Carter said that with Jones' death, her mission is passed on to those she loved.

"Because I was put in contact with her life, I have part of her in me, and that responsibility is now mine," she said. "I need to go out and share what Kim was all about."

The image of her smile, the meaning of her words - these things were ingrained on the hearts of those who knew her, her closest friends said.

"She will always be in my heart," Carter said. "I knew her for a year and a half, and she has left footprints on my heart that will never change."


Campus Editor Kristen R. Naquin contributed to this report.


Steven Baker

Stephen Suffron

Gunman showed signs of
paranoia before rampage at local church, police say

By Matt Welnack

and Justin Roche

staff reporters

Larry Gene Ashbrook, the 47-year-old man who opened fire Wednesday at a youth rally at Wedgwood Baptist Church, displayed signs of paranoia and schizophrenia, police said Thursday.

Authorities believe the death of Ashbrook's father about two months ago may have served as a catalyst to the shooting rampage, said Ralph Mendoza, Fort Worth acting police chief.

Shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday, Ashbrook entered the prayer rally in the southwest Fort Worth church, killing seven people and injuring seven others before taking his own life in the last pew of the sanctuary. Kim Jones, a 23-year-old TCU alumna, was among those slain in the shooting.

A pipe bomb also exploded, but did not harm any of the 150 people gathered in the sanctuary, police said.

Early Thursday, Fort Worth police officers searched Ashbrook's home, located in the 4800 block of Marshall Street in Forest Hill, and found overturned furniture, holes in walls, family pictures torn apart and concrete poured down the toilet, authorities said.

Mendoza also said officers discovered several prescription medicine bottles, all of which listed Ashbrook's father's as the patient. Mendoza said he did not know if any of those bottles contained psychoactive drugs.

"There were no records of him having any types of medical problems and nothing documented about him being in a hospital," Mendoza said. "We have no reason to believe he was misusing medications."

Mendoza also said Ashbrook had no criminal record, and neighbors of Ashbrook described him as a quiet and reserved man.

Also in Ashbrook's house, officers located several ledgers and journals, some of which dated back to the 1980s. In these writings, Ashbrook complained about people, his job and expressed the feeling that others were "out to get him," Mendoza said.

Police also found items that could be used to create a pipe bomb along with boxes of ammunition. Police recovered two film containers filled with black powder, various sizes of pipes and a hacksaw. Endcaps and fittings for pipes, along with a cut pipe and five shell casings, were found in Ashbrook's garage, according to the police evidence recovery log.

In his bedroom, officers found a loaded magazine clip, boxes of ammunition and a black Ruger gun box along with the manual.

Mendoza said Ashbrook used a 9mm Ruger semi-automatic pistol and an Arcadia Machine & Tool .380 Backup model handgun during the shooting.

The 9mm was purchased legally at a flea market in the Dallas/Fort Worth area Feb. 13, 1992. The gun did not have a Texas or federal registration. Police officers did not say where Ashbrook obtained the .380.

Officers found six loaded magazine clips of 9mm ammunition on Ashbrook's body and three empty clips as they searched the church. Officers said they did not know if Ashbrook used the .380 during the shooting.

Initially, the teen-agers who were gathered for the annual "See You at the Pole" service thought Ashbrook's abrupt entrance into the back of the sanctuary was part of a skit or prank, Mendoza said. Ashbrook must have sensed that several people did not understand what was occurring, because he announced, "This is real," before opening fire.

"The fact that the people in the sanctuary didn't believe (that Ashbrook would soon begin shooting) contributed to as many wounds as we have," Mendoza said. "Because they were unaware, it made them more vulnerable than had they realized if it was real."

Eyewitnesses said Ashbrook's comments before the shooting indicated a resentment toward religion, Mendoza said.

"He said, 'I can't believe you believe this and are standing and singing this,'" Mendoza said. "Another witness said he said, 'This religion is' and added an expletive."

There is no known connection between Ashbrook and Wedgwood Baptist, he said.

Mendoza said at least one person in the church had a handheld video camera during the shooting. The tape was submitted to the Fort Worth police as evidence in its ongoing investigation.


Campus Editor Kristen R. Naquin contributed to this report.


Matt Welnack

Justin Roch

Students shocked at 'the unimaginable'

By Tealy Dippel

staff reporter

Sitting on the steps of the Robert Carr Chapel, three students shared memories of their sorority sister who was slain in the Wedgwood Baptist Church massacre Wednesday night.

The memories they shared weren't distant. The women had been with Jones two nights ago at a Bible study she led.

Students gathered Thursday night in the chapel to remember Kim Jones and pray for her family and other victims of Wednesday evening's mass shooting.

For many people, the tragedy was not only an assault on humanity but also an assault on their beliefs.

Steve Martin, minister to college students and young adults at University Christian Church, said he feels vulnerable.

"I think a lot of us are asking, 'Are there any safe places anymore?'" he said.

And as the nation copes with another mass shooting, members of campus ministries and local churches and their leaders said they are struggling to make sense of the tragedy. They grieve for those involved and seek measures to prevent future rampages in the nation's churches.

Scott Colglazier, senior minister at UCC, said his church added a security guard Thursday morning outside its University Drive entrance to increase protection.

Other members of the religious community said they are also fearful and are now taking measures to ensure the safety of their church members and students.

James Stalnaker, director of college ministries at Christ Church, where several TCU students attend, said he and other members discussed security for their church Tuesday night.

Now Stalnaker and his church plan to have four or five police officers patrol the church's Friday night concert.

Other religious leaders within the TCU community said although they were shocked that the shooting occurred nearby, they still feel the same way about church.

"I am not threatened because a church is still a church," said Nathan Keller, a junior speech communication major and president of Campus Crusade for Christ.

Scott Munson, a master of business administration student and vice president of Brothers Under Christ, said he is not threatened because a church is a safe haven - God's house.

"People should not be afraid to go to church and worship," he said. "A church represents hope, and someone tried to ruin that, but you can't destroy hope completely."

Jenn Van Veldhuizen, a senior English, history and education major and president of HI, said she feels awful for the families, but not fearful.

"The shootings have not affected my view of the sanctity of the church," she said. "I will feel safe at church this Sunday."

Yet several campus religious leaders said their nightmares came true, as they watched a violent tragedy hit close to home.

"I was concerned because there was a list of people directly involved in our ministry through the Wedgwood Church," said Toney Upton, director of Baptist Student Ministries. "I wanted to hang around and find out about those involved."

Munson agreed, saying he never imagined such a tragic event occurring in a church in his community.

"Honestly, the unimaginable became imaginable after last night," he said.


Skiff staff member Tara Pope contributed to this report.


Tealy Dippel

IFC officials to vote Monday on Sig Ep charter extension
Fraternity hopes rumors won't sway decision

By Kris Gutierrez

staff reporter

As Interfraternity Council officials plan to vote Monday whether to accept Sigma Phi Epsilon's bid for a second charter extension, the fraternity's members said they hope rumors surrounding an incident involving one of their members will not affect the council's decision.

Sig Ep President Andy McMillan, a senior political science major, said he is currently in the process of fulfilling several requirements so his fraternity can get its national charter. He has asked for a second charter extension from IFC to give his fraternity time to gain more membership, the only requirement remaining to get the charter.

Some Sig Ep members said several false stories surrounding an accident that occurred in mid-August affected the number of students interested in their fraternity.

"These rumors are potentially detrimental to our chances of receiving that vote next Monday," McMillan said. "Every little thing hurts."

In mid-August, Sig Ep member Ronald Cervantes fell asleep while driving his truck after a gathering of about 20 Sig Ep members.

Cervantes hit a guardrail near the intersection of Interstate 30 and Riverside Drive, and he was thrown from his vehicle and became unconscious. He was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries and later released.

Cervantes was not ticketed for the accident.

But rumors that have come from the incident - which have included his dying, killing another passenger or being put in intensive care following the crash, some say - have circulated enough to cause potential damage, Cervantes said.

"I think the rumors are pretty silly," he said. "I honestly think (the rumors) put a serious dent in our rush. We lost a lot of recruits because of it. When you tell that to a new guy that's just coming to school, then he's going to say, 'I don't want to sign with them. I don't even know if there's going to be a them for that much longer.'"

The IFC is composed of 28 voting members, including eight executive members and two delegates from each chapter.

Kyle Gore, an executive member of IFC and a Delta Tau Delta member, said he does not think the rumors will help the voting process, but the outcome will be "interesting."

Neilson Arbour, a Delt representative on IFC, said the rumors said will not sway his decision.

"Rumors are rumors," he said. "What is true, who knows? Everyone's going to keep stuff in the back of his their heads. Rumors fly. This is college. We use (the information) we have."

Rick Barnes, director of student organization services, said the university is not formally investigating the incident.

"I don't think there will be any implication that will suggest (Sig Eps) be removed from campus," he said. "I'm not sure it was even chapter problems, but some individuals of theirs that may or may not have been involved in some allegations that have been brought to our office. What I'm working with are really nothing but verbal reports right now. It's absolutely nothing that's formal."

McMillan said he has not received notification of action against the fraternity.

Despite the investigation, the fraternity is still receiving support from its national chapter, he said.

"Our nationals are aware of the situation, and they have a clear picture of what's going on," he said. "They are supporting us and hoping that this stuff doesn't get in the way."


Kris Gutierrez

Student faces fines after protest

By Steven Baker

and Stephen Suffron

staff reporters

A senior broadcast journalism major currently faces disciplinary action from TCU administrators and at least $1,000 in fines after he set fire to issues of the TCU Daily Skiff in protest Thursday at the AddRan statue near the Mary Couts Burnett Library.

Villafranca burned copies of Thursday's Skiff, protesting a decision made by the newspaper's editorial board, which held a opinion column written by columnist Michael Kruse.

"I don't hold anything against them for the decision," Villafranca said. "And they told me they don't hold anything against me personally."

Villafranca objected to Editor in Chief Jeff Meddaugh's decision to hold Kruse's opinion column that questioned why TCU did not have representation in Playboy magazine, which recently ran a pictorial on the "Women of the Pac 10," according to a statement Villafranca gave to TCU Police.

Meddaugh said the column was inappropriate material for the newspaper's opinion page.

"I felt the viewpoints and the tone of the column were crass and offensive," said Meddaugh, a senior news-editorial major. "I saw it as basically locker-room talk on paper."

Kruse, who is Villafranca's roommate, was unavailable for comment.

"I just disagree with the Skiff, and the judgment call that they made," Villafranca said as he stood in front of the statue while the newspapers burned. "I'm expressing that now by burning the Skiff."

Fort Worth Fire Marshall J.R. Tucker said officers happened to be driving by when he saw the flames. He served Villafranca with a citation for violating a fire ordinance, which prohibits uncontrolled burning, open burning or open flames.

The citation carries a $1,000 minimum fine, but a judge has the discretion to raise or lower that figure, Tucker said.

Villafranca was also dropped from two of his courses - Reporting and Sports Reporting and Writing - Thursday afternoon.

Earnest L. Perry, assistant professor of journalism and chairman of the news-editorial sequence, said Villafranca's protest damaged his credibility as a reporter for the Skiff. Since he could not fulfill the requirements for the reporting classes without writing for the paper, the department had no choice but to drop him from both courses.

The action will be listed as an administrative drop on Villafranca's academic record. He will receive a full refund for both classes.

Because Villafranca violated the Code of Student Conduct - specifically the arson clause in the TCU Undergraduate Studies Bulletin - he could face further action from the administration, ranging from a warning to expulsion, said Michael Russel, associate dean of campus life.

Villafranca met with Russel Thursday and will meet with him again next week when Russel reaches his final decision.

Villafranca said he thinks the confrontation could have been avoided if TCU were more accommodating to student protest.

"I wish TCU had a designated area for protesting, like (the University of Texas)," he said. "I would have protested there."

Perry said he hopes the incident will not damage Villafranca's future as a journalist.

"I think he has a great talent," Perry said. "I question his judgment in this particular situation, but I still think he has the ability to be a very good journalist. And I hope that in the future he is allowed to practice journalism."


Steven Baker

Stephen Suffron


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