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Man wanted for California murder sent pictures of guns to former classmate weeks ago, used stolen gun

Sypien had sent photos of pistol to area woman, made vague threats

When a former schoolmate of Mark A. Sypien, 51, received a troubling text from him Feb. 5 with pictures of a gun and the words "Ive had enough," she thought he was just suicidal.

The woman – who asked not to be identified due to the nature of the incident – said she hadn't heard from Sypien in years. They went to St. Charles High School together but were in separate classes. The texts came out of the blue, just weeks before he shot himself to death Wednesday after fleeing from Danville, California where he was wanted in connection to a murder Sunday,

In one photo, a gun rests on a 2019 calendar next to a bottle of wine and drug paraphernalia. In the text, Sypien says "Ive [sic] had enough." In another photo, a handgun, several magazines, gloves, alcohol wipes, and duct tape sit on top of the calendar open to February 2019, with the text caption "she will regret [expletive] me."

Police would later learn that Sypien's gun – a black Springfield Armory XD.40-caliber pistol – had been stolen from Lisle. But they would only recover the weapon after Sypien had used it to kill two people, one of them himself. Sypien met his violent end less than two weeks after the shooting at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, in which five people died.

The perpetrators in both cases were convicted felons, barred under federal and state law from owning handguns.

Sypien had a history of domestic violence, abuse, and a propensity for making threats. The man he shot, John Moore, 76, of Danville, California, had received several threatening emails from Sypien, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Moore sought an order of protection against Sypien in 2014, but police say that did not stop Sypien from shooting Moore multiple times in a parking lot on Sunday.

California police said Sypien fled the scene in a silver 2003 Ford Escape SUV with Illinois plates. He drove more than 2,000 miles without a driver's license to reach the house where his parents lived in the 3N600 block of Bittersweet Road, where he shot himself around 3 p.m. Wednesday. The Escape could be seen in the driveway Wednesday afternoon.

Kane County Sheriff's officials said that the .40-caliber handgun Sypien used to shoot himself likely was the same gun he used to kill Moore. After running the serial number, officials discovered the gun was reported as stolen from Lisle.

"We believe, but we can't be sure until the gun is sent to the lab, it was the same gun from California," said Sheriff's Deputy Chief Pat Gengler said Thursday.

"I am truly feeling a lot of guilt over this," the former schoolmate said. "I thought he was going to end his own life. I had no idea he was going to harm anyone else. I want to extend my prayers to the victim's family and Mark's family."

"Everybody just thought he was just a little off," she added Wednesday. "He's always been a little on the edge."

Sypien served 60 days of a 120-day jail sentence in the DeKalb County Jail from October to December 2017, DeKalb County State's Attorney Rick Amato said. Sypien had violated a 2004 order of protection that a domestic violence victim had secured against him, resulting in his jail sentence.

The same day as Sypien's suicide, the Illinois House of Representatives passed legislation to improve gun safety. The Background Checks Act of 2019, co-sponsored by Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), would require a background check on every gun sale or transfer, including unlicensed gun dealers, with exceptions for family gifts, hunting and target shooting, and self-defense.

Brenda Schory, staff writer for the Kane County Chronicle, contributed to this story.

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