It's a cliche.
After a shooting, reporters rush to find people who can talk about the accused. Almost always, neighbors, colleagues, friends and family shake their heads in disbelief.
He was such a nice boy, they'll say, quiet. We can't believe he could have done something like this.
Such has not been the case so far with Evan Ebel, 28, the man suspected of killing Colorado prison chief Tom Clements last week.
People who knew Ebel invariably describe him as troubled.
He was an ex-con, who spent years in solitary confinement because he was deemed too great a risk to the prison community. He was angry, violent, and seemingly incapable of accepting the sort of help his prominent family and others wanted to give.
Ebel was lost.
"From the beginning, his son just seemed to have this bad streak, a streak of cruelty, and anger," Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a longtime friend of Ebel's father, told CNN's "State of the Union."
"They did everything they could. They tried. They worked with Evan again and again, but to no avail," the governor said.
"He had a bad, bad streak."
Tendency toward violence
Ebel grew up on a quiet street in Lakewood, Colorado, near Denver.
He was the son of Jody Mangue and Jack Ebel, an attorney and former oil executive. By all accounts, Ebel came from privilege, but showed signs of trouble from a very early age.
"He just struck me as angry," said Lakewood neighbor Vicky Bankey.
"I could see him, he'd be running out on the front lawn to come out to a car with his friends and he would have screaming, obscenity-laced arguments with them sometimes," she said.
As a teenager, Ebel was sent to a boot-camp-type program in Samoa, where according to one person who knew him there, almost everyone avoided him.
"He was quite a scary individual, especially by the end of the time. He had engaged in several fights with other students. One in particular he beat up with a broomstick," said Kurt Frey, who put Ebel's age at the camp somewhere between 15 and 17.
"He's gone through so many bad things in his life that really, it just didn't surprise me that he ended up being killed in a shootout with police."
Wanting to make 'Hitler jealous'
Ebel was killed Thursday in north Texas after a battle with authorities that left a sheriff's deputy wounded.
He died just two days after Clements was shot to death at his home outside Colorado Springs.
Authorities have said the bullets that killed Clements came from a gun that was found with Ebel, who had handwritten directions to the prison chief's house in his car.
Police have also said there is a "strong connection" between the killings of Clements and that of Nathan Collin Leon, a pizza delivery driver who was found dead in suburban Golden, Colorado.
No clear motive has emerged in either case.
Investigators, however, have said they are looking into all possible angles, including Ebel's onetime membership in the 211 Crew -- a white-supremacist prison gang.