Authorities came upon the scene while responding to a house fire

By Jeff Truesdell
July 16, 2019 04:35 PM
Scene of house fire and murder-suicide in Elmhurst, Illinois, on July 12
CBS Chicago

Authorities who responded to a house fire about 9:30 p.m. Friday in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst, Illinois, discovered three bodies inside.

All had been shot.

In what DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick described as an “inconceivable” act, authorities on Sunday said a 43-year-old mother used a firearm to kill her two teenage sons, set the home on fire, and then turned the gun on herself.

“This is truly a tragedy,” Mendrick said in a statement posted to his department’s Facebook page. “An act like this is completely inconceivable. This will be a trying time for the family, the community and our first responders who dealt with the aftermath of this horrible incident. We offer sincere condolences for anyone affected and urge anyone who is going through stressful times in their lives to please seek help.”

The deceased were 16-year-old Jason M. Harris and his 19-year-old brother, Nathan A. Harris, along with their mother Jamie M. Jones.

The scene of a house fire and murder-suicide in Elmhurst, Illinois, on July 12
CBS Chicago

Jason was a rising junior at York High School, from which Nathan had recently graduated, according to Superintendent David Moyer of the Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205.

“In the days and weeks to come, we most certainly will lean on each other for comfort and understanding as we attempt to come to terms with this great loss,” Moyer said in a statement. “As our community begins the grieving process, let us remember to extend open arms and hearts, always exhibiting a strong York spirit. Together, we will find our way toward healing and a brighter day.”

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Jason was “a great person,” who was fun to be around and enjoyed video games, said his friend and classmate Cadence Chalmers, reports the Daily Herald.

“He didn’t have a mean bone in his body,” said Chalmers. “He was a great friend.”

A neighbor, Marilyn Anderson, said Jones rented the home. Another neighbor, Mary Zaba, said Jones decorated the home with lavish displays at Halloween, according to the Daily Herald.

“It’s a tragedy, but I believe that’s the sort of thing that can happen in any neighborhood at any time in any town, in any city, in any country,” Anderson told the outlet. “It’s a shame that she didn’t feel that she had help for whatever she was going through, that that was an out for her.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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