WATER VALLEY, Miss. (WTVA) -- Despite a suspect in custody, police presence continued Saturday outside the house on County Road 301 in Oxford where an elementary school principal and her son were found dead the day before.
The bodies of 43-year-old Dr. Carol Gary and her son, 12-year-old Patrick Earl Gary Jr., were found shot to death Friday morning.
"I used to go by her house every Sunday going to church," resident Justin Chandler said. "You never really see anything going on there, so I was really shocked that something like that happened."
Chandler said he went to school with Gary's older son, 25-year-old Regis Mister, the man police have arrested and charged with two counts of murder.
Chandler's mother Theresa used to work with Carol Gary at Davidson Elementary before she became principal.
"She was great, always had a smile on her face," Theresa Chandler said. "Loved all the kids, you know. Took her job very seriously."
Dorian Howell is a fifth grader at the elementary school.
He heard the news when he got to school Friday.
"People were crying," Howell said. "We didn't do nothing; we just sat in the classroom."
His mother pulled him out of school that day as many other students' parents did.
But what about the principal's slain son, 12-year-old Patrick?
A former classmate of his said he, like his mother, was well liked.
"He was a very humorous kid," Joseph Witt said. He made a lot of people laugh and was really funny."
Police said they do not yet know the reason why Gary and her son were killed.
But their community said Gary will always be remembered.
"They'll have a hard time replacing her, you know, because the kids all loved her, the teachers loved her," Theresa Chandler said. "It's going to be tough."
Justin Chandler said people in town believe Dr. Gary was the best thing that happened to Davidson Elementary in years.