HIGH POINT — Despite his reported long struggles with mental health, a 45-year-old man who killed his wife and three children before fatally shooting himself at their north High Point this past Saturday had an extensive background as an actor in small TV and movie roles.
And though Robert J. Crayton Jr. grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in High Point years ago he had been a regular guest at the Hartley Drive branch of the High Point YMCA, where he played pickup basketball games during lunchtime and was known as R.C. or Rob. Crayton, who was 6 feet 3 inches tall and had a muscular frame, often brought some of his children to the main gymnasium, where they played on a vacant court while Crayton took part in games on the center court.
A biography on the website IMDb that appeared to have been written about 10 years ago goes into some detail on Crayton’s performing career. Though the biography is not attributed, its casual style, occasional lapses in grammar and punctuation, and its detail, which may be embellished, indicate Crayton may have written it himself.
“He was always a class clown, which teachers only allowed it (sic) because he was funny plus his grades were high, in some classes. He was voted most-likely to be an actor and on TV and he was often sought after by others in school for their media projects for impersonations and characters,” it said.
The biography said he took up performing skits, stand-up comedy and rapping as a young man in New York.
Crayton got his first acting role on the Tru TV channel as the character Tank on “Southern Fried Stings” in 2010, the biography said. His career as an actor subsequently included TV programs, films, commercials and voice-overs.
“He realized that his greatest passion is for acting and was absolutely intrigued by the horror genre and stated that it has been this way since childhood, which is why many of his films … are horror films,” the biography said.
Police went to the Crayton home in a neighborhood east of Oak Hollow Lake about 7 a.m. Saturday after a man and woman ran from house to house asking for help because the man’s father threatened to shoot him and others in the family.
On Monday during a press briefing, the High Point Police Department identified those killed as Robert Crayton’s wife, Athalia A. Crayton, 46, 18-year-old son Kasim Crayton and two other children, 16 and 10, whose names weren’t released.
The type of gun Robert Crayton used hasn’t been released by police.
Investigators haven’t determined a motive for the murder-suicide and say they might never pinpoint one.
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