MORRIS (CBS) — Gary Amaya, who may turn out to be the so-called “Honeybee Killer,” is described as a loner and someone who never smiled.
It also turns out the 48-year-old downstate resident — who was fatally shot over the weekend by a potential victim — has a suburban connection. CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot traveled to Morris and spoke with a man who knew him well.
“I saw who it was and I was just shocked. I was just amazed,” Terry Misener says.
That was Misener’s reaction when he saw a photo of Amaya on television identifying him as the man some think was the Honeybee Killer.
Misener owns a plumbing and heating company in Morris. He knew Amaya through work he had done for more than a decade when Tandem Lodge was open. Amaya was the lodge caretaker.
“I never saw him smile, never saw him laugh,” Misener recalled. “We’re the type of people that like to laugh and we’d try to get him to laugh and it wasn’t going to happen with Gary.”
Authorities say Amaya may be the person responsible for shooting and killing a Beecher construction worker and wounding another, then shooting a Lowell, Ind. farmer in October. At one point, he talked about honeybees to his victims – hence the nickname Honeybee Killer.
But his alleged crime wave came to an end at an Orland Park tanning salon Saturday. During a robbery attempt, a brave customer shot Amaya with a Colt .45 handgun Amaya had placed on a counter. Ballistic tests show that gun was used in all the other shootings.
Misener says Tandem Lodge had a shooting range. At times, he says Amaya would talk about hunting, target-shooting and his work on the property. Amaya also tended honeybees on there, Misener says, and grew mushrooms.
While taking care of the grounds, Misener says Amaya lived in a trailer just north of the picnic area.
He described it this way: “The trailer was broken down and old. Unkempt, it was just not a very nice place to live.”
“It was like he was living in poverty,” Misener says. “I don’t know that he was, but it was like I would say he was living in poverty.”
Things that many people would find trivial, like an unexpected visitor, would greatly upset Amaya.
Investigators will not definitively declare Amaya the honeybee killer until DNA test results come back.