The news that Rufus Shaw did not have cancer, according to autopsy results released yesterday, removes the one semi-plausible motive, however flimsy it may have been in the first place, for the March 10 shooting deaths of Shaw and his wife, Lynn Flint Shaw, former Dallas Area Rapid Transit chair and head of Mayor Tom Leppert’s political fund-raising committee.
Somehow the assumption was that Rufus’ treatments weren’t working; he was depressed; he talked his wife into a murder-suicide pact. That theory was pretty wacky in the first place. Why didn’t she say, “If you’re so depressed, shoot yourself?”
I have spoken to many people who saw and spoke to her within hours of her death. She was shopping for dinner at the grocery store, returning calls, returning e-mails to me. She sure was not acting like somebody who wanted to die.
Pieces of this puzzle never made any sense. Take Rufus’ call to State Sen. Royce West, in which he blamed what was about to happen on “my enemies.” Was that code? A signal?
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Since this happened, the grapevine has been absolutely rife with rumors about what the Dallas Fire Rescue team found when they got to the house, about the computers the police seized and so on. Some of it is from Crazyland. Some of it is eerily detailed and sort of plausible.
I have reported that Lynn Flint Shaw was knee-deep in the business of influence-peddling and the steering of public contracts. She was especially heavy-handed in pressuring the mayor to pay back political supporters in Southern Dallas with special access.
As things stand now, these deaths are a bizarre mystery. Nothing about them makes any sense. If I were Tom Leppert, I know what I would do: I would convene some kind of informal hearing during which the police are given an opportunity to recount what they know and don't know about the events of March 10. The problem is, Dallas police lack authority to proceed with this because there's no one for the Dallas County District Attorney to prosecute. But, look, if all of this is just ridiculous rumor, then somebody needs to demonstrate the fact. Sooner than later.
The mayor will protest that there is not one scintilla of evidence by which his name should be associated with this in any way. I understand that, but the mayor is intimately associated with Lynn Flint Shaw by his own doing, and she is dead under circumstances that are now not just mysterious but weird. Fact is, the shadows around the Shaws are deepening and spreading, and more than an edge of shadow falls on City Hall. --Jim Schutze