RURAL WHITE HEATH — Two shooting deaths here, after a five-hour standoff, have left surviving family members shocked.
The brother and three grown children of Roger and Shirley Sharp are trying to regroup after the Piatt County man apparently shot his wife, then himself, on Thursday evening.
Outside the large Wagon Trail Road house that Mr. Sharp designed and built by himself, his brother Jim said he didn't know what happened to cause Roger Sharp, whom deputies listed as 64, to kill his wife, Shirley, 59, a well-liked nurse at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.
About 4 p.m. Thursday, the Piatt County sheriff's office received a call "from a distressed female regarding a possible shooting" at a house on Wagon Trail Road in rural White Heath, near the Piatt County/Champaign County line.
According to the Piatt County sheriff's office, they called the house and made contact with Roger Sharp.
Roger Sharp told deputies his wife was already dead, according to the sheriff's office. They tried to talk him out of shooting himself, Jim Sharp said.
Police evacuated the surrounding houses, which are on large lots and spaced far apart, and established a perimeter in an effort to protect the neighborhood.
At about 9 p.m., SWAT members recovered the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Sharp.
Illinois State Police District 10, a state police SWAT team, the Piatt County sheriff's office, the Monticello Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service were at the scene.
Jim Sharp, who lives in Orland Park, said his brother had a successful contracting business, AAK Remodeling, and, contrary to the police report, his brother was 63.
"She was as quiet and gentle and loving as you could find," Jim Sharp said of Shirley, who was a medical surgery nurse.
Carle spokeswoman Jennifer Hendricks Kaufmann said Mrs. Sharp was 29-year employee.
Mr. Sharp grew up on West Kirby Avenue in Champaign, and his father was also a contractor.
"My brother protected me when I was little," Jim Sharp said.
Even though he earned a civil engineering degree at Bradley University in Peoria, Mr. Sharp didn't take to office jobs.
"He didn't want to wear a coat and tie," Jim Sharp said of his brother, who instead became a contractor who built his own house.
Jim Sharp also said the couple didn't have any serious medical issues or money problems that might have led to the shootings.
After an autopsy Friday, Piatt County medical examiner Debbie Robbins said the husband and wife each had a single gunshot wound and their deaths likely were quick.
She said investigators are not revealing how long the Sharps may have been dead.
State police and the Piatt County sheriff's office will continue the investigation.
It was the second shooting death in a week near the Piatt/Champaign line.
A Mahomet man died Oct. 7 after an apparent family feud turned violent on a road near the Piatt County line.
Harlan James was pronounced dead on the scene after officers found him shot in the chest in a field. James' cousin, Gerard James, was charged in connection with the shooting.
Lt. Ed Ogle of the Champaign County sheriff's office said the shooting apparently followed from an argument between the two.