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Two dead, one injured in Darien incident

DARIEN

A man and woman were found dead in a Darien residence Monday night, Delavan police said Tuesday morning.

Another man was found with a gunshot wound to the shoulder and was reported in stable condition Tuesday at Mercyhealth Hospital and Trauma Center in Janesville, according a news release from Delavan police.

Delavan Police Chief Jim Hansen said he did not expect any arrests in the case. He would not say how the incident happened, how the people died or what the motivation might be.

Jeff Connerty 

A law enforcement officer is shown at the scene of a Darien residence where two people were found dead Monday night.

In a news release, police said there was “no further danger to the community.”

Hansen said he plans to wait until his officers’ reports and those of the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office were completed before releasing details.

The wounded man is “fine,” and police planned to talk to him sometime Tuesday, Hansen said.

The incident occurred at 452 Buckingham Court. The Walworth County Dispatch Center received a 911 call shortly after 6 p.m. Monday that someone had been shot there, according to the release.

Neighbors in the cul-de-sac told a Gazette reporter a woman in her mid to late 20s lived in the house. They described her as a nice person.

Jim Stirmel, a neighbor, said he last saw her Sunday as she mowed her lawn. He called the incident “extremely rare” for the quiet neighborhood.

“It’s just a really super neighborhood,” Stirmel said. “…This is really strange.”

A delivery box was on the porch of the residence Tuesday morning. No one answered the door.

A man who said he attended Delavan-Darien High School with a person he believes is the woman involved said she was “smart, sarcastic and funny.”

Danielle Palms told The Gazette she believes she is a friend of the man who died. She said the man and woman had dated but had broken up.

Palms said she was shocked by the incident.

“He was an amazing person,” Palms said of the man. “Amazing soul. Huge heart. Loves a lot.

“This is a really upsetting situation for this whole town. Really upsetting.”

Jeff Connerty 

Authorities gather at the scene of a Darien residence where two people were found dead Monday.

Hansen said he would release no names until autopsies were completed Tuesday and Wednesday and families notified.

SWAT teams from the sheriff’s offices in Kenosha, Rock and Walworth counties were among the law enforcement units called to the scene.

Among other responders were the FBI, detectives from Rock and Walworth counties, the state Division of Criminal Investigation and medical response units.

The bodies were found after “several hours of attempted negotiations and investigative leads” and after SWAT officers breached a door to the residence, according to the release.

Officers obtained a search warrant and searched the house, releasing the scene at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to the release.

Jeff Connerty 

A law enforcement vehicle is shown at the scene of a Darien residence where two people were found dead Monday.

The incident had ties to the nearby village of Sharon, according to a Sharon police Facebook post.

Sharon Police Chief Brad Buchholz posted this statement in response to what he said were many people asking why he issued an alert to residents Monday night urging them to shelter in their homes and report suspicious activity.

“In reply to the many who asked why there was not more information released about the call, I will answer with this statement. It is the policy of this department NOT TO RELEASE INFORMATION IMMEDIATELY when our department is not directly involved in a crime scene,” Buchholz wrote. “I simply put out a safety notice because this incident did have ties to our community. I will state that the department was aware of certain aspects of the case and did take extra measures to ensure the safety of those that may have been connected with this tragic event.”

Jeff Connerty 

The Walworth County Sheriff Department's Mobile Command is shown at the scene of a Darien residence where two people were found dead Monday night.

The incident was the second in six months in which two people were shot in a Darien residence.

In a Dec. 2 incident, Steven W. Kohs, 34, shot and killed William Swift, 48, and wounded Kohs’ estranged wife, Rebecca L. Kohs, 39.

Kohs then took his own life.

All three were village of Walworth residents.

Hansen said in March that a case of this kind was rare for the village of 1,600 people.

Gazette photographer Angela Major contributed to this report.


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‘I'm not going to stop': Church's GED class helps local Spanish speakers

JANESVILLE

On paper, it’s hard to quantify the success of Faith Lutheran Church’s program that helps Spanish speakers earn their high school equivalency degrees.

The program has lost students since it first started in 2013.

Most of them leave before finishing because of family or job situations.

Right now, only three people regularly attend the church’s weekly Tuesday classes, said program leader Barb Becker.

But the program’s value is evident on the face of Daniela Sanchez. She’s determined to complete her General Education Degree, or GED, which would help her family and give her a sought-after educational accomplishment.

Angela Major 

Barb Becker sits on the floor with Daniela Sanchez's 3-year-old son Lazaro Sanchez as he plays with blocks Tuesday at Faith Lutheran Church in Janesville.

As Sanchez studied language arts on a laptop inside the church Tuesday, her 3-year-old son, Lazaro, played with blocks and toy animals nearby.

Known as Faith Literacy, the church’s GED classes are part of a larger network of resources serving Rock County’s Spanish speakers. Local leaders say those resources can encourage students to become more involved and strengthen the entire community.

GED classes at Faith Lutheran originally started in 2013 as a partnership between the church and The Literacy Connection, a Janesville nonprofit that closed in 2016. When the nonprofit shut down, the church decided to continue the classes as a form of outreach, Becker said.

Sanchez was one of the original students. The program has always functioned as one-on-one lessons rather than a traditional class.

Work changes and her pregnancy with Lazaro forced her to leave the class, but now she’s back and striving toward a GED.

Angela Major 

Daniela Sanchez gets her 3-year-old son Lazaro Sanchez a snack Tuesday at Faith Lutheran Church in Janesville.

A Chicago native who grew up in Mexico, Sanchez struggled with academics and dropped out in middle school to work. But her husband recently earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology, which has inspired her to continue studying.

“I told Barb I’m not going to stop this time. I’m going to do it,” Sanchez said. “I need to do something different, for me and my kids, to be a good example. I have to keep going.”

She would like to go to college eventually and score a job working with kids. She currently works as a custodian for a local day care, and the labor has started to take a toll, she said.

Besides the GED classes, other nonprofits in Janesville and Beloit offer English language classes or citizenship training. Stateline Literacy Council in Beloit offers all three.

The resources are essential to building unity at a time when racism and other hostilities toward Spanish speakers have become commonplace.

Rene Bue, chairwoman of the Janesville Police Department’s Latino Liaison Advisory Committee, said Faith Literacy’s declining enrollment is not an unusual story. Many programs or services geared toward Spanish speakers have seen fewer people in recent years.

A lot of that is due to fear—fear of being pulled over without a valid driver’s license, for example, and the unknown repercussions that come with that, Bue said.

But time is also an issue. Learning English and being an adult student are not easy tasks or commitments.

“It’s easy for language speakers who only speak English to say, ‘Oh, well, they should just learn English,’” Bue said. “It’s time-consuming and difficult to fit in with all the other things you have going on in the natural course of life.”

Becker said even if people start her class and have to leave, any education is worth something. They at least have more knowledge than what they started with.

Only a few of the several dozen students Becker has taught have actually completed their GEDs. Still, the skills and support system will help them whether they earn a diploma or not, she said.

“It’s not about quantity,” Becker said. “It’s more about, particularly in this political and social climate, I feel like we need to make sure that this population of people knows there are people out here who are on their side, who are willing to support them.”


Bryan Wegter 

Janesville Craig's Savanna Dare sprints toward goal in the first half of a Big Eight Conference match against Madison West on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at Craig High.


Obituaries and death notices for May 15, 2019

Brent A. Burdick

Patrick “Patter” Collins

Romana Harris

Eugene “Gene” McQuade Jr.

The Rev. David G. Pease

Rita Ann Roherty

Bette Mae Shaw

Brock J. Swartwout