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Mother of sniper suspect ‘shocked’ over allegations

RENO (AP) – The mother of fugitive Darren Mack says her son was a “model citizen” and she’s shocked he’s accused of stabbing his estranged wife to death and then shooting the judge who was handling their divorce.

In an interview with a Reno newspaper, local businesswoman Joan Mack said she has heard nothing from her son and fears the worst.

“I don’t know if he’s even alive,” she said.

A nationwide search continued Sunday for Darren Mack, who was last heard from when he phoned a cousin in Moraga, Calif., shortly after Monday’s stabbing death of his estranged wife, Charla Mack, and sniper shooting of Family Court Judge Chuck Weller.

“I’ve been in shock,” Joan Mack said. “We just have to put one foot in front of the other and pray. Lots of prayers.

“You see things on TV and on the radio, but you never think you’re going to be involved in anything like this. It’s been hard. I don’t think there’s a rule book for this,” she said.

She praised her son for helping with fundraisers, supporting other businesses and being involved in youth activities.

“My son. He’s been a good son,” Joan Mack said. “Both of my sons, they’ve been model citizens. They’ve always been there for people.”

She thanked the community for an outpouring of support and said she would focus on providing as stable a life as possible for the children of Darren and Charla Mack.

The couple had one 8-year-old girl, who will stay for now with Joan Mack – with regular visits from Charla’s family – under a court order issued Friday.

Darren Mack also has a 17-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. Both have spent time with the Joan Mack in recent days.

“We hope everybody can pull through this for the best interest of the children,” Joan Mack said.

A funeral service for Charla Mack has been scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday at Mountain View Mortuary in Reno.

Weller remained in good condition Sunday at an undisclosed location under guard.

Authorities said they were uncertain whether Mack was in or out of the country. “He is a man with vast resources, travel experience and abilities,” Reno police Lt. Jon Catalano said in a statement issued Sunday. “The search for Darren Mack is not limited to local, state or national boundaries.”

Police were still searching for a silver 2006 Ford Explorer that he was last believed to have been using, with California plates 5POR272.


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