Mark Becker, the man accused of fatally shooting a legendary Iowa football coach, had substance abuse problems marked by a growing streak of violence, reports the Des Moines Register. Becker was arrested yesterday after a couple dozen students watched him shoot Coach Ed Thomas several times with a handgun in a weight room near his high school. Becker, 24, allegedly used a baseball bat on Saturday night to break windows at the rural home. He then drove his car into the residence’s garage door, causing more than $1,000 damage, and led police on a two-county chase until he was caught and arrested.
Becker was taken to a hospital to undergo a psychiatric evaluation; he was released Tuesday. Adam Limburg, who played on the same football team, said the coach had given Becker a second chance after a 2003 drug arrest. “Coach Thomas was always about second chances,” Limburg said. Now a licensed practical nurse, Limburg had no explanation for what had happened to Becker. “It has just been pretty obvious that he has been having problems. I just am having a tough time wrapping my mind around all of this. It is quite a shock,” Limburg said.