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Neighbors trying to make sense of shooting

September 18, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Described as "just a working couple," Jeffrey Michael Webber and Kimberly Anne Webber could often be seen outside their 704 W. King St. house engaging in friendly conversation with people, their neighbors said.

Michael Roach, who lives a few doors down from the Webbers' house, said he and Jeffrey Webber enjoyed motorcycles, and Roach said he had made repairs to Webber's Harley-Davidson.

Roach also has a woodworking shop behind his house and Jeffrey Webber would often stop over to see his friend, borrow a tool or help Roach around the shop.

"He's a nice guy and she was, too. I don't understand," Roach said on the front porch of his home Sunday afternoon.

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What Roach and others were trying to comprehend Sunday was how such a nice couple could end up dead after a shooting.

Jeffrey and Kimberly Webber were found Saturday afternoon in an upstairs bedroom of their home with gunshot wounds to their heads, police said. Although investigators with the Martinsburg Police Department could not be reached for comment Sunday, the shootings were being investigated as a murder-suicide, Berkeley County Coroner David Brining said.

Brining would not comment about who initiated the shooting.

"We have a pretty good idea, but that will be released by the police department," Brining said.

Brining said he could not comment about other details, including how two children belonging to the Webbers were being cared for. The couple had a teenage boy who was learning to drive and a younger daughter.

Autopsies on Jeffrey and Kimberly Webber are expected to be conducted today, Brining said.

Like Michael Roach, Lisa Nicholson was trying to make sense of the shootings.

Nicholson lives next door to the house where the Webbers lived and Nicholson said she never saw anything to indicate her neighbors might end up dead in a shooting.

"They would go to work together in the same car, come home in the same car ...," Nicholson said. "They were such a nice couple. I never would have expected it," she said.

Although police have declined to comment on when the couple might have been shot or other circumstances of their deaths, neighbors said they heard what might have been gunfire on Friday between 7:30 and 8 p.m.

Police showed up at the house Saturday.

Nicholson said she rushed home Saturday after her son called her and said a bullet might have traveled into the second story of her house. The houses in the neighborhood are close together.

"The cops asked if they could dig it out and I said, 'Yes,'" Nicholson said, referring to the bullet.

Neighbors said they believed that Jeffrey Webber either sold or leased vending machines and that Kimberly Webber might have worked with him.

They were often seen walking down the street to their home at the end of the day, exchanging words with neighbors, and keeping their yard nice, neighbors said.

Karen Roach, Michael Roach's wife, said the Webbers were caring parents and had normal expectations for their children.

"They didn't have problems any worse than anyone else, I didn't think," Karen Roach said.

Michael Roach said he would teach Jeffrey Webber about small motorcycle repairs and that Webber would stop by his shop and sometimes pick up a broom and tidy up the place. Roach would tell his friend he did not have to do that.

Roach said Webber was an avid motorcycle rider.

Roach said he likes to hunt and fish and that he used to take venison to the Webbers.

According to police reports and court records, the Martinsburg couple's deaths bring to 13 the number of people in the Tri-State area killed in incidents involving firearms since July 23.

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