A bright sun and warm weather could not cast away the darkness that befell a quiet York County community.
Chanceford Township residents and staff and students at York College were reeling Monday morning from news of a murder-suicide that took the lives of people they described as "nice neighbors" and a "dynamic, caring educator."
State police said Steven Himes, 43, shot and killed his 39-year-old wife, Amanda Himes, before killing himself during a domestic dispute at 2415 Delta Road.
What motivated Steven Himes is still unknown. Amanda Himes worked as an adjunct professor of math at York College and coordinated the institution's math tutoring program for the school's Center of Education and Learning.
"She will be deeply missed by all. She was a dynamic educator, and a caring educator and friend," said spokeswoman Mary Dolheimer.
"We know she helped students learn, and beyond that it's a shock to all of us," she said.
It has also been a shock to neighbors.
"It's a tragedy," said next-door neighbor Joe Kilgore. "I didn't know them well, but it's a real shame. We passed in the yard and greeted each other. They were nice neighbors."
The neighborhood: Several hours after police opened the roads Sunday morning, there was no evidence of crime outside the ranch house Steven and Amanda Himes bought in 1998.
Sitting on a little less than an acre, surrounded by rolling fields of gold, their gray home with burgundy shutters was quiet, like the rest of the street. A navy Saturn Vue and maroon Subaru Outback were parked in the paved driveway. The net of a basketball hoop shifted in the breeze.
"This is a real shock. This is a calm, quiet neighborhood, and it's such a shame for those kids," Kilgore said.
The couple had two school-age sons who were in the home at the time of the incident, but police and neighbors couldn't confirm their ages or current whereabouts.
The investigation: There were more questions than answers Sunday evening as police continued to investigate.
York County 911 received a phone call from Steven Himes at 11:03 p.m. Saturday, saying he shot and killed his wife. While on the phone with police dispatchers, he went to the basement of the home and shot himself.
York Area Regional Police officers found Amanda Himes dead in a first-floor bedroom with multiple gunshot wounds and Steven Himes dead in the basement from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, according to police.
State police Trooper Rob Hicks said Monday morning a handgun was used by Steven Himes to kill himself and his wife. He didn't confirm the model of the gun and said more information would be available after an autopsy on Monday.
"It's still unclear what caused this. All we know is there was an argument, police tried to keep him on the line, and while he was on the line he shot himself," York County Coroner Barry Bloss said.
The coroner's office was performing an autopsy Monday on Amanda Himes to determine the location and number of gunshot wounds she sustained, he said.
"This is not a real common event. We've had other murder-suicides in the county, but they don't happen often," Bloss said.