TAMMS, IL (KFVS) - Illinois State Police say a Florida man is dead after he was shot following a police pursuit in Alexander County.
Cpt. Harry Masse with ISP says a Bobby W. Curtis, 48, of Panama City was shot by police at the end of a pursuit by the Alexander County Sheriff's Department.
It happened just before 4 p.m. Tuesday.
A helicopter took the man from the scene to Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau.
Bobby's wife, Lisa K. Curtis, 50, also of Panama City was found dead in the car. Autopsies on both people are pending.
Family members say there has been a lot of tragedy in the Curtis' lives. Their 17-year-old son Jeremy was killed in a 2005 car crash.
Their son's death contributed to the couple's struggles but the couple really loved each other, said Bobby Curtis' sister, Belinda Van Dommelen .
She doesn't know what caused Tuesday's event. Family members say the incident was odd, and hopes the autopsies provide answers.
Masse says the sheriff's department was investigating a call involving mental health issues, and when the man didn't pull over, it turned into a chase.
An Alexander County deputy attempted to stop the Curtis' vehicle who had walked away from Union County Hospital in Anna two days earlier. He had been undergoing mental health evaluation.
"The vehicle ended up striking a tree, the offender got out, an altercation and scuffle ensued, and the driver subsequently was shot," said Masse.
During the attempted stop, the Curtis wrecked his vehicle, got out and attempted to injure himself with a sword.
The man approached the deputy with the sword in a threatening manner and the man was shot by the deputy, according to ISP.
Many of the neighbors say they can't believe this could happen right in their backyard.
"Everything seemed to be ok up till today," said neighbor Clark Short.
Short says usually his neighborhood is quiet, but not Tuesday.
"[I saw] the police car following the other car into the trailer park and I heard the crash," said Short. "When I looked up the police car, which is off to our right, had bumped into the car to push it off the side of the road."
Short's 6-year-old granddaughter was visiting, and says she too heard the car crash.
"It sounded like boom when I was right there," said Shealyn Thorn.
She said the whole ordeal was terrifying.
"I was like really scared," said Thorn. "I thought he was going to come over here."
Short says when he saw the car crash, he stopped mowing the lawn.
"I walked around the side of the bush I heard the shot, and I said to myself 'he got shot," said Short. "I didn't know which one had got shot. I didn't know if the other guy had a gun too, but then I found out the police officer was ok."
Now, the Illinois State Police are investigating, and Short just hopes the community can get back to its quiet self.
"You know its sad it kind of puts a black eye on our community in town, Tamms is a really nice neighborhood, it's quiet, small town U.S.A.," said Short.
Names are being withheld pending notification of family members.