Students and faculty say they were shocked to hear of the shooting deaths this week of two Amarillo College graduates. According to the Amarillo Police Department, preliminary autopsy results show that on Monday, David Gisch shot and killed his wife, Kendal Gisch, and then shot and killed himself. The two mass media graduates were found dead in the office of the Internet marketing and Web design company they co-founded. Amarillo police said they were called to the office at 5000 SW 45th Ave., where they discovered the couple, both 22 years old, with gunshot wounds to the chest. Authorities are investigating the shooting and said final autopsy results may not be available for more than a month. Kendal Kuehler and David Gisch met while attending AC, and both worked in Student Media.
The two continued their education at West Texas A&M University but left to start their own business, GischMedia. Kendal and David were married this March. AC graduate Caitlin Duke said she was speechless when she heard about the shooting. “This couple had so much going for them,” she said. “I can only imagine what their family and close friends are going through. It is hard to imagine what could’ve happened to lead to this ending.” Duke took several classes with the two and described them as a joy to be with.
“Kendal was always funny and smiling. David was very kind and driven. In Jill Gibson’s public relations class, we had a semester project. Kendal and David teamed up and they absolutely blew everyone else’s out of the water. It makes me believe they put in 100 percent in whatever they did.”
Duke said she was not surprised when the two began dating. “It was like they were meant to have one another,” she said. Another AC alumnus, Zeb Rollins, studied with the couple both at AC and WTAMU. Rollins said he had seen posts on Facebook but could not believe what happened. He later discovered the rumors were true. “Kendal had the most beautiful soul,” said Rollins, who worked closely with her when he was editor of the magazine, AC Current. “She saved the magazine deadline by designing two spreads when my assistants had fallen through. She was always willing to help and did it with a smile.”
Rollins described David as a hard worker, great leader and a funny guy. “We lost two very strong people, but we have the memories of their strength to guide us as we strive to be a greater version of ourselves,” he said. Jill Gibson, an AC assistant professor and Matney Mass Media Program coordinator, said she heard about the shootings and didn’t want to believe it was true. “Any time young people die it is terrible, but this was so senseless and so tragic,” she said. “Kendal and David were two of the most talented and ambitious students I have had in my classes. “I first met Kendal in my speech class, and I introduced her to the field of mass communication and student media. That’s how she found her passion for public relations, advertising and photography and how she met David. It was very clear that they made a good team.”
Gibson noted that the two seemed meant for each other. “Kendal was a good influence on David,” she said. “When they were at AC, she brought out the best in him.” Gibson said she was surprised when David and Kendal contacted her while they were at WTAMU and said they were thinking about leaving school and starting their own business. “That worried me, but it turned out that they were successful in a very competitive field,” she said. “They seemed to be destined for great success. I can’t understand what happened. This doesn’t make sense.”
Dr. Claudie Biggers, a biology professor and department chairwoman, said Kendal also was one of her former students. “Kendal was an adorable student in my honors class, fresh out of high school,” Biggers said. “It has been five years since she was in my class, but we stayed connected by social media. She grew into a talented, beautiful woman who made people happy through her photography.” Biggers noted that the day after the shooting would have been Kendal’s 23rd birthday. AC graduate and former Ranger editor Bailie Myers met David and Kendal at AC, where they worked together on the Ranger staff. “I can’t believe they are gone,” Myers said. “I will miss them a great deal. They were both brilliant young people. Kendal was the most beautiful soul. She always had a skip in her step and a smile on her face. She was confident in who she was, and I admired her for that and so much more.”