DeKALB – Cameron Lupton’s neighbors say the 28-year-old Malta resident was a shy man and a great friend who told them he struggled with paranoid schizophrenia.
Police shot and killed Lupton on Tuesday when they say they found him attacking his father, Carl Lupton, and stepmother, Charlotte Lupton, with a knife at their home in the 1000 block of Quail Run in DeKalb. An autopsy showed Cameron Lupton died of a single gunshot wound to the neck. Toxicology reports will be released in a couple of weeks.
Police searched Lupton’s apartment Wednesday at 104½ S. Third St. in Malta and seized his car.
Jackie Belmont and Steven Williams are both friends and neighbors of Lupton who live two doors down from his former residence.
Belmont attended DeKalb High School at the same time as Lupton, who was a 2004 graduate. She said Lupton, 28, told her about a week and a half ago that he had stopped taking his medication because it “made him feel sick to his stomach.”
Lupton was a U.S. Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and was unemployed. He had become distant and depressed in the past couple of weeks, and seemed much different than his usual friendly self, Belmont said.
“He wasn’t angry or mad,” Belmont said. “He was just sad, depressed and mopey.”
Williams said he hung out with Lupton at least twice a week. He said Lupton loved his family, especially his father, who would visit every other day.
Lupton moved to the Malta area around November, Williams said. He enjoyed playing video games, reading books, rapping and painting, but most of all, he loved inventing.
Lupton’s dream was to appear on the ABC show “Shark Tank” and pitch inventions with Williams. Lupton even invented a light-up tackle box for fishermen to use in the dark, Williams said.
“People think he was just crazy, and I know he wasn’t,” Williams said. “He did have some issues, but that’s not what made him do this.”
Neighbors also said Lupton sometimes had flashbacks to his time in Afghanistan. They sometimes would be triggered when he was playing a “shooter” video game or watching a violent movie, Belmont said.
Williams said Lupton told him he was honorably discharged from the Army after he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
“He never talked about it,” Belmont said. “He’d get emotional if you tried to bring it up.”
When Belmont was moving furniture into her new apartment in November, Lupton helped her and gave her chocolate as a welcoming gift.
Lupton was also known to wipe snow off neighbors’ cars, help them carry groceries and buy food for his friends when they least expected it.
Williams said he met Cameron Lupton in November after Carl Lupton introduced himself and showed Williams around the apartment.
Lupton’s father told neighbors his son didn’t have many friends and did not make friends easily, Belmont said.
When he first met Cameron Lupton, however, Williams said he was very open.
“He shook my hand and gave me a hug,” Williams said. “He acted like he knew me for years.”
Lupton also got along with Williams’ 4-year-old daughter, even though Lupton himself told him he never wanted children, Williams said. Belmont said Lupton was never aggressive unless he was drinking, but even then, she felt safe around him.
Williams always knew how to calm him down if he ever felt paranoid.
“Sometimes he’d say, ‘I feel like something bad’s going to happen,’ and I’d say, ‘No, everything’s fine,’ “ Williams said. “Sometimes, you could tell he wasn’t in the right state of mind, but when I was there, I’d calm him down all the time.”
Three police officers, two from DeKalb and one from Northern Illinois University, were put on paid administrative leave after the shooting. The Illinois State Police are investigating the incident and will hand their report to the DeKalb County State’s Attorney for review.
A hospital spokesperon has said the Lupton family asked her not to release an update on their medical status.