STERLING/ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS - Officials have indicated that the case of a murder-suicide in Rock Falls near Dillon Elementary School (and a nearby apartment) is now closed. With that said, residents can now breathe a little easier, but there is no mistaking the fact that shootings in this area are becoming more frequent than many would like.
Meanwhile, a June 17 shooting in Sterling is still being investigated. And the case of Nick Sheley is winding its way through the courts. He is accused of killing eight people in on a killing spree that shook the area and the Midwest in 2008.
But back to the other case. It has been reported that they are treating the case as a bad relationship gone wrong. Authorities did have access to text messages and the shooter, Fred Bittman, 51, mentioned that he didn't want victim Sheila Bejster, 48, to see other people after their breakup. It was Bejster who Bittman shot in the intersection near Dillon. She would die a few days later of her wounds, after being taken to OSF in Rockford. She was shot twice. Some reports had twice in the head, while others said, once in the back and another in the head.
Their relationship developed when he was living at PADS. They met there but did she work (volunteer) there? It was noted that Bittman would spend time at the homeless shelter and her apartment. But, she did live at the Coloma Homes Apartments in Rock Falls with her three children.
Where were these children when this happened and where are they now? One was just dropped off at school, but the other two? They were not in the apartment because Bittman ran there after the shooting and found Verna Rosas there. He shot her and then shot himself, it was said. That would make this a double murder-suicide, right?
To those who questioned where he was able to get the gun. It notes he bought it back in 1990. It was a .45 calibre Smith and Wesson.
There was also some confusion over the order of protection. Bittman was banned from her apartment complex for six months and that had expired by the time of the shooting.
Oh, then there was that early report of DOA for the first victim, which was not true. Nevermind, this is still a double murder-suicide.