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Family Aroused Concerns Of Neighbors Before Killings

PINEVILLE - Even before the killings, neighbors had been wary of the family in the white house on Buxton Street. The father, Christian Hans Liewald, dangled handcuffs from the rearview mirror of his minivan, walked around the southwest Mecklenburg neighborhood with a gun and once shot a man on the street, they said. A "No Trespassing" sign was tacked to the house, and cameras recorded what went on outside. Neighbors said the teenage boy who lived at the house didn't interact with other children, and was only seen mowing the yard or tinkering with the family's cars. Still, neighbors saw no outward signs of family problems until early Monday, when they heard screams, then gunshots. Around 2 a.m. Liewald's son called police twice, saying he'd shot his father and his 24-year-old stepmother, Cassie Meghan Buckaloo, police said. The boy told police he'd be sitting on a nearby street corner, waiting for officers to pick him up. Later Monday, he was charged with two counts of murder, armed robbery and attempted auto theft. N.C. law prevents police from releasing the name of the boy, who is 15 and a minor. The boy was being held in a juvenile detention facility. More than 100 people filled Morningstar United Methodist Church on Shopton Road to mourn Monday night. The family has attended the church for about six months. Police didn't release a motive in the killings. Monday evening, neighbors said they could still see investigators going into the house, nearly 20 hours after the first 911 call. Jesse Loosemore, who said he rarely saw anyone but the father come out of the home, says he and his wife heard Buckaloo's screams. "I think we may have heard that poor lady's last words: "Oh, please don't do this." Liewald, 43, and Buckaloo were listed as staff members at Zoar United Methodist Church in southwest Mecklenburg. According to the church's directory, they were in charge of the website. Zoar United Methodist's pastor, the Rev. Marilyn Smith, could not be reached for comment. Family members and several of Liewald's ex-wives didn't return calls seeking comment. Liewald's Facebook page says he was a Fort Mill High School graduate who attended Central Piedmont Community College. Court records show he had been married to at least three women before Buckaloo, including a marriage that was annulled because a previous divorce had not been finalized. Little was known about the boy. Neighbors said he had been pulled out of public schools in junior high, and was home-schooled. His mother, who was divorced from Liewald in 2000 according to court records, did not return calls seeking comment. In 2006, Liewald filed a restraining order against his brother, saying in court documents that Clifton Liewald "left threatening messages (that said) you better check your cameras ... watch your back. What goes around comes around." The restraining order accused Clifton Liewald of "irrational behavior" in front of Christian Liewald's child, causing the child "to prepare a knife for his defense." The court document says the child was the same one charged in Monday's killings. Several neighbors said Christian Liewald had also clashed with neighbors. "He carried a gun, and it frightened some of us," said one woman, asking that her name not be used. Another neighbor, Amy Taylor, said, "We backed away from Christian. He is weird. A lot of us had concerns about it." Neighbor Greg Hicks said he was shot and wounded by Liewald several years ago during a dispute. Court records show Liewald was charged in June 2007 with assault with a deadly weapon, but the charges were later dropped. Hicks told Observer news partner WCNC-TV that he was surprised to see the 15-year-old charged. "Something had to push him to do something like that," Hicks told WCNC. "Because he's really a great kid." Morningstar United Methodist Church was filled beyond capacity late Monday with people mourning the couple's passing. Buckaloo worked with children in Sunday School, even though she and her husband were employed by Zoar United Methodist. Church members and friends of the family hugged each other, conducted group prayers and left messages of condolence on slips of paper near the church's entrance. One read: "Cassie, my ray of sunshine, I'll miss you." "They are sorely missed, dearly beloved," said Morningstar's pastor, Mary Brown. "We know Cassie and Christian went to God." Observer staff researcher Maria David, staff photographer Davie Hinshaw and Kimberly Dick of the (Rock Hill) Herald contributed.