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Funerals Held Friday for Couple Gunned Down in Their Home

Robert Garrova / NHPR

A tiny New Hampshire community is set to bury a couple who was gunned down in their home.

James Eckert, a chiropractor and ultramarathon runner, and his wife, Lizette Eckert, who also worked as a chiropractor, were shot March 15 in their Alton home. A funeral mass will be held Friday at St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Alton. (James and Lizette Eckert Obituary.)

James Eckert, 48, was pronounced dead after he was taken to a hospital in critical condition. Lizette Eckert, 50, was found inside the home with gunshot wounds. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy revealed they both died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Authorities arrested and charged an 11-year-old boy with two counts of second-degree murder. Officials did not provide the relationship between the boy and the two adults.

[Former N.H. AG Explains Legal Process For Juvenile Charged in Alton Shootings]

The killing has stunned those who knew James Eckert, who was a regular presence at races around New England including the Vermont 100 Endurance Race and was active in his local church. Lizette Eckert "loved being a mom to her three children" and run the family farm, according to the couple's obituary.

The couple met at an Iowa chiropractic college.

Residents have rallied around the family, with several businesses in town taking donations. A GoFundMe page started for the family has raised more than $21,000. The page is filled with friends expressing shock and sadness over losing a couple many called good friends and great bosses.

Pastor Sam Hollo, of the Community Church of Alton, said a few dozen parishioners were close to James Eckert and said he had known him for three years. Soon after the killing, Hollo opened the church for prayers and offered counseling for anyone needing it.

"He was a man of integrity," Holo told the Associated Press Thursday. "We've lost a good one in that sense."

The two bonded, Holo said, over their Christian faith and their desire to live life as the Bible dictated. Eckert was also passionate about a healthy lifestyle and recently talked of starting a health website, he said.

"The shock factor has really kind of destabilized us all," Hollo said. "We're thinking everything seems to be going well. But all of sudden, it's this bad."


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