What started as a response to a house fire became a gut-wrenching murder-suicide investigation, Illinois police say.
When police arrived at an Elmhurst home to investigate a fire Friday evening, they discovered three bodies, the Associated Press reported.
Brothers Jason Harris, 16, and Nathan Harris, 19, had been shot to death inside the home, police said in a news release. Their mother Jamie Jones, 43, had been shot as well.
Police say they believe Jones shot and killed her sons before setting the house on fire and turning the gun on herself.
“This is truly a tragedy. An act like this is completely inconceivable,” DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick said in the release.
Nathan was about to begin his sophomore year as a computer science major at Bradley University, the Journal Star reported. Flags at the university will fly at half-staff for three days in his honor.
“A loss like this is difficult to understand and hard to accept,” Bradley University President Gary Roberts said, according to the newspaper.
Jason was an incoming junior at York Community High School and enjoyed playing video games, the Daily Herald reported.
“He didn’t have a mean bone in his body. He was a great friend,” a classmate Cadence Chalmers said, according to the newspaper.
Mendrick said the days that follow will be a “trying time” for the community and urges “anyone who is going through stressful times in their lives to please seek help.”