RADFORD, Va. — The man authorities say killed a Virginia Tech police officer before committing suicide had broken up with his girlfriend over the summer and vaguely mentioned some family issues, but he was loyal and never hinted at plans for violence, friends and former classmates said Saturday.

Police say Ross Truett Ashley, 22, stole a car at gunpoint Wednesday from his landlord’s office in what would be a precursor to the events a day later: On Thursday, police say he killed the police officer, then turned the gun on himself in a parking lot on the campus.

“He was friendly, nice,” said Nic Robinson, 21, a Radford University history major who is preparing for law school. “Obviously, he had his bad days, but it was the same as anyone else having those days.”

The most notable setback in his life that Robinson knew of was his breakup over the summer with his girlfriend. It clearly hurt him, she said, but she never saw him obsess over it.

But there were other issues in Ashley’s life that he wasn’t as forthcoming about, she said.

“We all have our family problems, so the way that he was saying it just made it kind of seem like, ‘just another thing to add to the list,’” Robinson said. “He never made anything sound like, ‘This is serious, I need you to sit down.’“

Ashley never talked about guns, and she said she never knew whether he owned or knew how to use one. He also didn’t use drugs or drink heavily.

Former classmates in his hometown said he was a hard-nosed football player who had a deep knowledge of the Bible.

J.D. Muller, 22, said he and Ashley kept in touch through social media but hadn’t spoken in person for a couple of years.

Ashley never made any suggestions that he might turn violent, Muller said. He said he never recalled Ashley as much as losing his temper or getting upset, and said that Ashley also seemed to know Scripture well.

“He wasn’t some kind of monster that people are trying to depict him as,” Muller said.

Those who knew Ashley said he could be standoffish and reserved. Ashley lived in an apartment in the college town of Radford and was a part-time student at the university there.

“He was always very nice. I would say that he was reserved, but I wouldn’t call him a loner,” said Kyle Carlson, 22, who graduated from Spotsylvania High School with Ashley and had a few advanced-level classes with him.

About five miles from the center of town, no one answered the door at the Ashley family’s house Saturday morning. Hours later, a man in a white pickup was parked in the driveway and posting no-trespassing signs.

Neighbors said they did not know the family and declined to comment.