|“||No! It's not safe!||”|
Roy was born on May 5, 1963, and at some point married a woman named Dana and joined the military, Special Ops, 75th Ranger Regiment, Bravo Company, Third Battalion. When war broke out in Somalia in the early 1990s, Roy and his friend Max Weston were both sent overseas. While escorting a United Nations aid caravan to a refugee camp during Operation Gothic Serpent, they were ambushed in Mogadishu. The two managed to escape, and awaited rescue, hiding in abandoned buildings. On the night of October 3-4, 1993, Max woke up to find a machine gun pointed at him, and Roy, acting on instinct, disarmed and snapped the neck of the assailant, realizing afterward it had been a twelve-year-old boy. After two days of hiding, Roy and Max managed to find a damaged radio, and, after repairing it, they were able to successfully call for an extraction, make an S.O.S. out from the rubble to help overhead Black Hawks find them. Roy's experiences in Somalia scarred him, and he returned home to Houston, Texas, a ghost of his former self, never telling Dana about anything that had happened to him overseas. Roy showed obvious signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, having an aversion to loud noises and crowds, suffering from nightmares, and becoming physically ill at the smell of something burning.
Max realized something was wrong with his friend and tried to convince him to go to a veteran's hospital, but Roy refused, adamantly claiming he was fine. However, a few days before Valentine's Day, 2007, Roy (whose condition had been getting worse since the previous year) was returning home from his job as a security consultant, only to discover the freeway was being temporarily blocked off. Forced to use a surface street, Roy got a flat tire, and while he was changing it, an eight-story building on the nearby Market Street was imploded. The noise and rumbling caused by the demolition felt like a bomb going off to Roy, who suffered a psychotic break and fled into Fifth Ward, abandoning his truck. Living in derelict buildings and surviving off whatever he could find, Roy would have violent episodes whenever a loud noise caused his delusions to flare up. In his first two days on the street, Roy killed a vagrant, a construction worker, and a construction site security guard, taking the latter's pistol after breaking his neck.
After the altercation with the security guard, Roy moves into a storm drain under the condemned Fifth Ward Recreation Center. As the building is being torn down the next day, Roy has another episode, and after hallucinating the boy he had killed in the war, snaps the neck of a construction worker who climbs down a manhole. Escaping the sewer, Roy, after stealing a communications radio from a construction vehicle, hides in an alleyway behind Ramos Pipe & Supply. After falling asleep, Roy is awakened when Mr. Ramos discovers him and tries to get him to leave, telling him to go to a nearby shelter while banging a piece of wood against a dumpster. Thinking Ramos is hostile, Roy attacks him, and is about to break his neck, when the man's young daughter, Maria, cries out. Letting Ramos go and briefly incapacitating him by punching him in the face, Roy, oblivious to what he was just doing, asks Maria what is wrong and why she is crying, before being pushed away by Ramos, who grabs Maria and runs off. After hearing a car backfire, Roy flees the scene, making another temporary hideaway in an abandoned building.
On Valentine's Day, Roy, when construction starts nearby, uses the radio he had taken to try and call for aid. Reaching the local police department, where the BAU is, Roy is reassured when Max (who was at the police station with Dana) answers his calls. Told to stay put by Max, Roy is found by the BAU and police, who had located the flags he used to triangulate his position. Calmed when construction is halted and by the presence of helicopters and Max, Roy begins heading towards the team and Max but has another episode when a construction worker turns his jackhammer on. As the BAU desperately try to pacify him, Roy, seeing a child on a bicycle approaching, hallucinates he is the Somali boy and rushes towards him, screaming for him to get away from what he perceives is a battlefield. A SWAT sniper, misconstruing Roy's actions as an attack, shoots him in the back. As he lays dying on the ground, Roy asks Gideon if the boy is alright. Gideon tells him that he is, and Roy manages to say "...That's good" before succumbing to the gunshot.
Years later, as they investigate a spree killer in Louisville, the BAU mentions Roy, though not by name, when they initially believe that the unsub might've been set off by experiences in the military like Roy was.
Roy's victims were all random men frequenting construction sites in the Fifth Ward, who had caused his delusions to flare up by making some kind of noise. They were incapacitated by a blitz attack, before having their necks snapped. When he killed his first victim, a child soldier from the enemy faction, he killed him out of self-defense to protect his friend.
The unsub is a male whose murders being gang or drug-related, is unlikely, due to the seemingly random victims and means with which they were killed. As the victims were all blitzed, it indicates the unsub lacks the interpersonal skills needed to approach or coerce them, and the killer using the element of surprise in his attacks indicates he may have stalked his victims for a short time. Large and physical enough to be a match for his victims, the unsub would be unusually aggressive, paranoid, prone to unprovoked outbursts of violence, and is likely homeless, due to the presence of "nests" near all the murder sites. The unsub may be someone displaced by recent construction, and by killing workers and other construction-related employees (like the security guard) he may be trying to take some kind of revenge on the city, as payback for putting him out on the street; the homeless victim may have simply been killed over food or space. It is possible the unsub may be a recently discharged psychiatric patient, and it is likely he had been committed petty thefts to support himself, stealing things like food and comfort items.
It eventually becomes apparent that the unsub was merely defending his makeshift homes from those who intruded on it, and who he saw as a threat. His reaction to Maria Ramos while attacking her father (forgetting what he was just doing and asking her what was wrong) indicates he is delusional, while an S.O.S. made of debris (discovered on top of the building he had been staying in before killing the security guard) implicates he is a war veteran, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder-induced psychosis caused by the chaos and noise from the construction projects. This is consistent with the quick, skilled and efficient method in which all the victims were killed. Almost completely out of touch with reality, the unsub is reliving some trauma he experienced during the war, and if cornered by what he perceived as enemy combatants, would lash out violently, going down in a bloodbath.
Since Roy's killings did not allow for a cooling-off period, took place over the course of only three days, and were committed all over the Fifth Ward, he would be classified as a spree killer. Roy himself did not believe that he was committing murder, but eliminating enemy soldiers, therefore spree killer can be the only accurate description. If Roy had survived the attempted capture, it is likely he would have been institutionalized rather than incarcerated.
Roy was likely inspired from a number of violent incidents involving returning, PTSD-afflicted veterans that were reported in the years immediately preceding the production of Distress. The most notable of such cases involved Matthew Sepi.
- Presumably killed numerous unnamed victims while working for the U.S. Special Ops
- October 3-4, 1993, Mogadishu, Somalia: Unnamed 12-year-old boy (killed to protect Max Weston)
- 2007, Houston, Texas, U.S.:
- February 10: An unnamed homeless man
- February 11: An unnamed construction worker
- February 12: Warren Banbury (construction site security guard; stole his gun afterwards)
- February 13: Travis Overby (construction worker)
- February 13-14: Edward Ramos (store manager; attempted to kill, then assaulted by punching his face, breaking his nose)