And whenever Dear came to stay in his shack in the woods, the neighbors in Anderson Acres, a community of about seven houses along a steep, gravel road here, kept their kids inside.

“He was the kind of person you had to watch out for,” said one neighbor, who asked not to be identified, saying he feared retaliation from Dear or his family. “He was a very weird individual. It’s hard to explain, but he had a weird look in his eye most of the time.”

Dear, 57, the man in custody for Friday’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, appears to have been a malcontent who drifted from place to place in the past couple of years. In addition to the shack, he lived in a mobile home in another town in North Carolina and a camper on a piece of vacant land in Colorado, which he shared with a woman who moved with him from the East Coast…

“He complained about everything,” said the neighbor. “He said he worked with the government, and everybody was out to get him, and he knew the secrets of the U.S.A. He said, ‘Nobody touch me, because I’ve got enough information to put the whole U.S. of A in danger.’ It was very crazy.”

Dear lived in a mobile home in Swannanoa, N.C., until about a year ago, said neighbor Dale Reeves. He said Dear’s property is now vacant and for sale. Reeves said Dear “didn’t mingle with anyone.” He said his property was often messy, and at one point he had several Volkswagen Beetles in the driveway.