Monday, June 11, 2007

My Little Town...

DELAVAN, Wisconsin (AP) -- A domestic dispute erupted into a mass killing in southern Wisconsin, leaving six people, including two infant boys, shot to death, and a 2-year-old girl with a gunshot to her chest.
A prosecutor said late Sunday no one was in custody but that police weren't looking for a suspect and no one else was in danger. Officials often use such language when the shooter is among the dead.
"What we have is a complicated death scene and we're investigating all the possibilities," said Kevin St. John, a spokesman with the state Justice Department, which is leading the investigation. (Watch police and neighbors describe what they saw and heard )
Walworth County District Attorney Phillip Koss said the shooting was part of a domestic dispute, but he wouldn't elaborate until autopsies were completed and the crime scene was fully evaluated.
Officers, responding to a report of shots fired, stormed an A-frame duplex Saturday night with weapons drawn, kicking in the door, neighbor Richard Heideman said. He saw two paramedics go in behind them and come back out minutes later.
"That's when I knew everybody was dead," Heideman said.
As the bodies were wheeled out, one onlooker dropped to his knees on a neighbor's lawn and threw his hands to the sky in prayer.
The 2-year-old girl was found in a nearby van, seriously wounded. A male family member who escaped the shooting was helping investigators.
Authorities have not released the victims' names, but Kay Macara said her 19-year-old daughter, Vanessa Iverson, was among the dead.
With tears in her eyes, Macara said her daughter went to the apartment the previous night to visit friends.
"My child," she said. "I want answers."
Also in the house during the shooting were the twin infants, their parents, and the mother's sister and her husband, said Sarah Iverson, Iverson's sister-in-law.
The 2-year-old sister of the twins, Jasmine, was in serious condition at University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison.
The father of the children, 22-year-old Ambrocio Analco, was one of the dead, said Marco Pastrana, Analco's cousin. He said the boys were 2 to 3 months old.
Monday morning, a cluster of teddy bears, stuffed bunnies, a dinosaur and candles stood under a tree outside the duplex. The landlord, Duane Brellenthin, said two sisters rented the upstairs apartment. He declined to name them, deferring to police.
He said they'd lived there about a year and a half, and he'd never had problems with them.
Pastrana said Analco no longer lived with the children's mother. Analco left Pastrana's house Saturday night to drop the kids off with her at the duplex, Pastrana said.
"It came to my mind that this was not true," Pastrana said. "But when I came here I went to talk to the cops and they tell me that he was dead, his kids were dead and one was in the hospital."
Neighbor Leandra Mena, 65, said she heard what she thought were firecrackers coming from the house around 10:30 p.m. Saturday.
"I thought it was firecrackers because it's so close to the Fourth of July," she said.
Police cordoned off two blocks around the duplex for most of the day. On Sunday morning neighbors, some still bleary-eyed, clustered on the sidewalks, watching investigators move bodies out of the house.
Tina McKinnon, 37, lives about a block away and said there was never any commotion at the house. "The children were very pleasant," she said.
Delavan, home to about 8,000 people, lies in the farm fields and woods between Janesville and Milwaukee. The P.T. Barnum Circus, "The Greatest Show on Earth," was founded in Delavan in 1871, and statues of circus animals decorate the town square.

It's a little strange seeing a sleepy town like Delavan make the national news--and I certainly didn't want to see it for this type of story. At least I don't recognize any of the people mentioned here. My sympathy goes out to the family, and I hope the little girl recovers.

I spent my teenage years in Delavan, though the town has developed since then. Back in my day, Delavan only had about 5,000 people. Since I moved there in 1982, a dog track went up (though I think it's now a bust), and lots of new stores have sprung up too. There's also a much greater Hispanic population now; when I was in high school, there were only a few token minority students.

I still visit Delavan on occasion because my friend Liz lives there. I wonder what she and her family make of this story.

1 comment:

Sheila said...

I've been to Delavan many times too. My husband used to go there with his family every year to spend their summer vacations. He spent a lot of his childhood summers at Lake Delavan.
We actually spent a couple of vacations since at Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan.
My heart goes out to the family too.

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