Vincent Rocha and Bernadette “Bernie” Gosserand were the kind of neighbors anybody would be glad to have.
The couple, both 47, were known by others on their Kansas City, Kan., street as friendly and always willing to lend a hand.
That’s why neighbors were left perplexed and shocked after learning that the outgoing couple were among three people fatally shot Tuesday night inside their house at the end of a normally peaceful dead-end street.
Rocha’s adult son, 26-year-old Jeremy Rocha, also was fatally shot.
Gosserand’s adult son was wounded. Police did not release his name but said he remained hospitalized Wednesday with injuries not considered life-threatening. Both of the younger men had recently moved into the home.
The couple’s three young grandchildren were in the house during the shootings but were not harmed.
A 28-year-old suspect in the shootings was arrested later Tuesday night. He is being held without bond in the Wyandotte County jail on suspicion of first-degree murder, according to jail records.
Friends and family believe that the killings were the result of some type of domestic dispute.
Kansas City, Kan., police were called about 10:20 p.m. Tuesday to the home in the 1900 block of South Boeke Street where they found three victims fatally shot inside.
They were summoned after the wounded man went to a neighbor’s house to call for help.
The shooter fled before police arrived, but officers later tracked down a possible suspect to the 3200 block of Waverly Avenue. He fled on foot but was arrested after a search involving a police dog.
The wounded man told police that when he arrived at the home, he was confronted by a man who struck him in the head. The attacker then shot him in the back and fled. The victim passed out for an unknown amount of time before calling police, police said.
After he came to, the wounded man ran to a neighbor’s house and asked for help.
That neighbor, who did not want to give his name, said the man told him he had been shot, and said, “My babies are in the house, please get them.”
The neighbor said that before he could get to the house, police were arriving.
Vincent Rocha and Gosserand had lived in the one-story house at the end of the dead-end street for several years, neighbors said. Jeremy Rocha and Gosserand’s son had moved in recently.
Neighbors described the couple as friendly, helpful people.
“They were door-is-always-open kind of people,” one neighbor said. “They were just good people.”
He said Vincent Rocha, who went by Vince, was always working on his house, which has a decorative fountain in the front yard. They had a dog, kept a goat and two pigs in the backyard and were planning on adding chickens to the menagerie.
“They would keep an eye on your house when you were gone,” he said. “I just can’t say enough about what good neighbors they were.”
Another neighbor said he was watching television and eating dinner Tuesday night when he heard four or five “booms” that sounded like gunshots.
When he looked outside, he said he saw a car speeding away.
He, too, said the couple who lived there were good people and good neighbors.
“It’s really sad,” he said. “They were two innocent people in the wrong place.”
After police arrived Tuesday night, that neighbor said he could hear the children taken from the scene crying inside a police car as it drove past.
As friends and relatives got the news Wednesday, they turned to social media to express their grief.
“Man it’s not fair the way you guys were taken. You guys were such good people always had open arms and doors for me and my kids. I wish this didn’t happen but I know you guys are in a better place,” one woman posted on Facebook.
“Can’t believe u are gone I was just talking to u at 9 last night,” a woman wrote about one of the victims.
Another woman posted that she was “totally heartbroken.”
“Alls I can think about is the summer you spent at our house and the random messages and texts you send me. You’ll forever be missed,” she wrote.
Despite the arrest, detectives are continuing to investigate and asked anyone with information to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).