Coroner: 3 killed in Cherry Valley died of gunshot wounds - – Rockford’s News Leader

Coroner: 3 killed in Cherry Valley died of gunshot wounds


The Winnebago County Coroner's Office says the three people killed in a murder-suicide over the weekend in Cherry Valley died of gunshot wounds.

Peter S. Ruckman, more commonly known as P.S. Ruckman, a long-time professor at Rock Valley College and Northern Illinois University was found dead, along with his two sons 12-year-old John Ruckman and 14-year-old Christopher Ruckman on Saturday morning. Coroner Bill Hintz says P.S. Ruckman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

Winnebago County Sheriff's deputies responded to the home around 7 a.m. Saturday for a welfare check. During the check, deputies found three dead bodies in different rooms of the home. 

Chris Ruckman and John Ruckman attended Rockford Christian School. Today, counselors, pastors and comfort dogs were at the school to provide comfort to other students grieving. Rock Valley College says it will also provide counselors to staff and students. 

Winnebago County Court records show Ruckman, and his ex-wife Heidi, who police say called in the initial welfare check Saturday, filed for divorce in July of last year. The divorce was finalized a month later and last were in court in November, finalizing a parenting plan with the court.

Autopsies on the three family members are scheduled for Monday.  We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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