Murder-Suicide Shakes Community on Barkwood Lane in Northern Palm Coast
FlaglerLive | March 20, 2011
An update is available here.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is currently at a home at 21 Barkwood Lane in northern Palm Coast, investigating an apparent murder-suicide involving a middle aged couple. A Florida Department of Law Enforcement unit arrived at 7:25 p.m.
The victims are David Sharp, 52, and Terry Sharp, 54.
The couple was found dead in their home around 4:41 p.m. by neighbors who called deputies to the scene. A neighbor reportedly kept hearing the dogs barking in the house–the residents owned two young dogs. When the neighbor went over to the house, he saw an open door, and noticed a man on the ground in the house. Others said the man was seen with a with a shotgun next to him, and a woman was on the ground on the porch toward the back of the house.
Both suffered gunshot wounds and a shotgun was recovered at the scene. Deputies are attempting to determine when the incident occurred.
“I though I heard a gunshot, more like a damn shotgun, it was pretty loud,” Ken Bell, who lives one street over, on Barkley Lane, said. He was taking a stroll on his bike at about 8:15 tonight when he was interviewed, recalling this afternoon’s sounds. “I had the windows open, didn’t think anything of it. This was probably twoish, something like that,” in the afternoon. This afternoon. “I was sitting there watching television, I heard a gunshot and thought, damn. I was watching the Bourne Supremacy or something like that. I was flipping between sports channel and the Bourne Supremacy.” Bell said he thought it could have been a car backfiring. He said he only heard one shot.
“It sounds like a gun but you don’t think of it as a gun shot. There ain’t no gun fire in Palm Coast, right?” Bell said.
Bell walks his dog through here “all the time,” he says, making a point to speak to everybody. The male victim, he said, loved his garage, “especially on sports nights, Saturday nights and things like that. Just one of those neighbors you see and say hello but never get to know, you know what I mean? I come by with my dog, say hello. It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable.”
The neighbors at 19 Barkwood Lane, however–the neighbors who called 911–said they were in their yard working most of the afternoon and didn’t hear anything. They described the Sharps as “very nice people” who “never bothered anybody.” They’d moved in a couple of years back after living in the same neighborhood, a few streets over.
The 1600-foot house has been owned since 2003 by George and Beverly Wilson. The Sharps were renters.
Neighbors one house over, at 23 Barkwood, say they never heard the sound of a shotgun. They said they’d gone fishing with the couple once. A teenage boy who lives at 23 Barkwood said he was talking guitar lessons from the man next door.
Tom and Cindy Cashman, who live almost parallel to the house on Barkwood, one street over–on Bassett Lane–routinely walk their dog on Barkwood. Tom said he’d been up until 2 a.m. Sunday morning, watching live and recorded basketball games, with windows open, and never heard anything.
“We were out in the yard this morning, we walked the dogs, I didn’t see anything unusual,” Cindy Cashman said. She said the couple often watched television in the garage, which they’d turned into an extension of their living areas. “They’d just sit in there, especially in the winter,” Cashman said, “they’d pull the screen down. It was like an extra family room for them.”
“We’ve been here 16 years,” Tom Cashman said, noting the irony of watching the news about the disaster in Japan and the latest war in the Middle East, “and nothing seems to happen around here.”
A Palm Coast animal control unit has been at the scene for several hours. Just before 8 p.m., animal control officers brought out a small dog. An officer described the dogs as “traumatized” and said the dogs will be cared for, and that it’ll be up to next of kin, who are apparently not in town, to decide how to care for them once they’re able.
“I see this man every day he sits in his garage, watches his television and polishes his bike,” Bell said.
There are three vehicles in the driveway: a company pickup owned by CPH Engineers, a Sarasota-based company, a Dodge pick-up truck and a Dodge Avenger. There were three medicine containers strewn alongside the front driveway that by evening were each marked by crime-scene identifying numbers. The yard was well tended. As FDLE investigators worked inside the house, a large, flat-screen television was on in the living room, likely as it had been at the time of the shooting.
The sheriff’s office was not investigating the actual scene in the house. Two deputies arrived at the house after the 911 call. When they saw the bodies, they called in a detective and secured the scene, leaving it to FDLE to process and investigate. “We don’t have the lab that FDLE does and the equipment to process the scene, so we leave it up to them,” Debbie Johnson, the sheriff’s spokeswoman, said.
The bodies were still in the house at 9:20 p.m., pending the end of FDLE’s processing and the medical examiner’s own investigation. The FDLE was likely to be at the scene until around midnight, Johnson said, possibly later.