By Steve Large

EL DORADO, Calif. (CBS13) — The motive for the shooting death of a school principal has not been released by investigators, but is all the more puzzling in light of statements from colleagues and neighbors that the suspect and victim were good friends.

SWAT team members arrested 44-year-old John Luebbers at his home on Wednesday, just eight miles and a couple hours removed from the fatal shooting of Principal Sam LaCara at the Louisiana Schnell Elementary campus.

A retired school janitor who used to work with both men said LaCara and Luebbers ate breakfast together at the school frequently and would often golf together, including this past weekend.

They’ve been friends for years, according to Pedro Cuevas, “very good friends.”

Cuervas last spoke to Luebbers last week after filling in for him at work twice, and the two chatted about a football pool for the Super Bowl. There was no sign that Luebbers would allegedly open fire in LaCara’s office just a few days later, Cuervas said.

Another neighbor, Mike Smith, said the two would even travel to watch Oakland Raiders games. The two men had far different personalities, Smith said, and his own relationship with Luebbers deteriorated in recent years.

“I won’t say nothing to him, he’s just a wack job,” he said.

There was no clear reason why Luebbers would allegedly want to kill LaCara.

“I just think he got laid off or reprimanded,” Smith said, adding that in Luebbers’ own mind, “Johnny is always right, no matter which way you look at it.”

Luebbers declined a request for a jailhouse interview.

According to a Placerville Police dispatcher, police say that Luebbers has confessed to killing LaCara.

Comments (2)
  1. CRAIG SALE says:

    Sam & I were best of friends, I met Sam in the summer of 78 went boating at the river often, He graduated from Apple Valley High here in the high Desert of Southern Ca, extremely sad story> Rest in Peace Sam.

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