WALLER COUNTY, TX (CBS/KHOU) -- The school shooting in the northeast has renewed memories of tragedy in the city of Waller, Texas. That's where a young man took the lives of his own family, but backed out of a plan to kill students at a local school.
On Main Street in Waller and in communities around the nation, people are asking themselves the same question about Friday's school massacre in Newtown, Conn.
"How somebody could be so insane to do it," said Ron Rudloff, a customer having lunch at the Varsity Grill.
Here at the Varsity, it's difficult to tell whether they're talking about Adam Lanza, who killed 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary s in Connecticut, or one of Waller's very own. Trey Sesler, 23, is currently spending life in prison without parole for murdering his mother, brother and father last March.
"It's still very painful, said restaurant owner Diana Ross. "It's still just so unbelievable. This kind of tragedy can happen in any town."
It's what could have happened at Waller Junior High School that haunts Waller Police Chief Phil Rehak to this day.
"He actually loaded his weapons and went to the school and waited on the children to exit the building," said Rehak. "And as they started exiting, he had a change of heart. That's about as close as you can get without firing a first shot."
A sentiment perhaps reflected in a taped confession Sesler made to Texas Rangers after his arrest.
"Maybe it was that what happened was too real," Sesler told investigators.
"I just think there was a higher power that was deterring him from doing that," said Ross. "I have a 13-year-old grandson that was in that school."