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Answers sought in New Hope shooting case

 

Kenneth “Kent” Coscia

Kenneth “Kent” Coscia

 

 

Sarah Fowler

 

A man accused of shooting two Lowndes County deputies and injuring a third is sitting alone in a Monroe County jail cell. 

 

Kenneth "Kent" Coscia, 30, has been in solitary confinement since he allegedly opened fire on Lowndes County Sheriff's Department deputies Tuesday, according to Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell. The shooting incident occurred at Coscia's home in New Hope.  

 

Cantrell said jail personnel are taking precautions to ensure Coscia does not harm himself. 

 

"He's in solitary confinement right now," Cantrell said. "I'm not saying he's on suicide watch but we're just making sure he doesn't harm himself." 

 

Jail administrator Johnny Buckingham said Coscia was in "good health." He would not comment further. 

 

Cantrell said Coscia is currently not allowed to have visitors but will be able to eventually. 

 

Who those visitors might be is a mystery. 

 

Coscia's home sits on Drake Circle, a quiet suburban street in New Hope. The house looks like any other in the neighborhood. There is a basketball goal in the driveway and a child's water gun in the front yard. A grill sits next to the garage. 

 

A closer look reveals traces of Tuesday's events. Three bullet holes can be seen in the front door. There are blood stains on a walkway. 

 

A knock on the home's front door went unanswered Friday. 

 

A neighbor said Coscia, his wife and daughter mostly kept to themselves. 

 

Coscia's stepfather, David Allen Williams, said he didn't know much about his stepson. Williams, an occasional freelance photographer for The Dispatch, was married to Coscia's mother, who died two years ago. Williams said that since her death he has seen Coscia a handful of times. 

 

"I bet I have not seen him five times in the last several years," he said. 

 

Williams said he and his stepson drifted apart after Coscia married but the two would text occasionally. Coscia would offer to mow William's grass. 

 

When the two would talk, Coscia often talked about his daughter, Williams said. 

 

"He would joke and say, 'All the things that I did when I was child I'm getting repaid,'" Williams said Coscia told him. 

 

Despite their good-natured relationship, the two rarely saw each other. Coscia worked nights while Williams worked days. 

 

Williams said Coscia worked at Baldor Electric in Columbus. 

 

A coworker, who asked not to be named in this article, said Coscia worked the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift. Coscia had lately begun talking about the end of the world and carrying a Bible, the coworker said. 

 

Coscia also began bringing assault rifles to work to "show them off" with fellow employees, the coworker said. On the Friday before the Tuesday shooting, the coworker claimed Coscia began crying in the middle of the work shift and ultimately asked for a leave of absence. 

 

Baldor officials did not return calls for comment. 

 

When asked why his stepson may have asked for a leave of absence, Williams said he had only heard rumors. There may have been marital troubles, he said. 

 

Like Coscia's coworker, Williams said Coscia had a Bible in his hand the last time he saw him. To his knowledge, Williams said Coscia was not a member of a local church. He preferred to have church at his home, Williams said. 

 

Williams, who remembers Coscia as a class clown who once mooned his math class, said he never saw something like what happened Tuesday coming. He said as soon as he heard the news Tuesday he immediately called Coscia's cellphone but "of course he didn't answer." 

 

He said his first thought when he woke up Wednesday morning was "Is this all a dream?" 

 

Williams said he has yet to receive a phone call from Coscia's wife or Coscia himself. He doesn't expect to receive a phone call either. 

 

"No I haven't heard from him," Williams said. "I figured they've got him locked down pretty tight. I would check on him but it's hard to know what to do." 

 

If he does get an opportunity to speak to his stepson, Williams said he has one thing to ask him. 

 

"I would say, 'Kent, what in the world were you thinking?'"

 

Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter @FowlerSarah

 

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