116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Wife: Iowa City shooting victim 'very kind'
Oct. 10, 2009 11:54 am
UPDATE: An Illinois man killed in Iowa City Thursday was a loving father of two and a caring landlord, his wife said.
“He was the last person you would ever think anyone would want to hurt,” said Janet Versypt of Cordova, Ill. “He was very kind. Very generous.”
Her husband John E. Versypt, 64, was found dead from a gunshot wound in Building C of the Broadway Condominiums, 1958 Broadway St., just after 4 p.m. Thursday, police said. The Versypts own three units at the southeast side condo complex, according to the Iowa City Assessor's Web site.
Authorities are investigating the death as a homicide.
Iowa City Police Sgt. Troy Kelsay declined to say where on Versypt's body the wound was. He said he was not sure if Versypt was shot more than once.
Kelsay said a small handgun was next to Versypt's body but declined to say if it was the weapon used to kill Versypt. There were, however, empty casings, he said.
“Had it been fired recently? I don't know,” Kelsay said. “It will need to have tests done, but what we found was consistent with that.”
Janet Versypt said her husband did not own a handgun. She knew few details about her husband's death.
The couple had owned the condos about 10 years and rented them out, she said. Her husband was retired after 30 years as a sheet metal mechanic at a John Deere plant in Silvis, Ill., she said.
Cordova is a small village on the Mississippi River about 20 miles north of the Quad Cities.
Tiaunta Martin of Madison, Wis., who is staying with her boyfriend's mother at the condo complex, said she and another person found a white man lying on his side at the back door of the building.
The man, she said, was breathing heavily and shaking, with a gun and a screwdriver by his foot.
Janet Versypt said her husband was posting “no loitering” and “no smoking” signs. She said he was frustrated by what he believed to be a lack of management by Southgate Development Co. in Iowa City, which manages the properties.
“He was there to push it along and make it a better place for these people,” she said.
The condos are in southeast Iowa City, which has a growing reputation for being a troubled side of town. Janet Versypt said her husband had never had problems in the neighborhood but witnessed its decline.
“It's gotten worse,” she said.
A representative for Southgate did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Kelsay declined to say if police had any suspects but noted that Iowa City Area CrimeStoppers has taken the unusual step of offering, in advance, its maximum reward of $1,000 for any information that contributes to the arrest of a suspect. Anyone with information is asked to call (319) 358-8477.
Kelsay said people were transferred from the scene yesterday in a patrol car for questioning. He also said there are leads to track down.
Agents from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation are assisting in the investigation.
An autopsy will be scheduled, Kelsay said.
Police officers will distribute a CrimeStoppers handbill throughout the neighborhood.
Janet Versypt said her husband loved NASCAR and his 1967 GTO convertible. The couple enjoyed traveling in their motor home.
John Versypt is survived by two adult children, daughter Jennifer Wakefield of Indianapolis and son Joel Versypt, a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The Gazette's John McGlothlen contributed to this report.