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News Maryland Harford County Fallston / Joppa

Friends remember Harford woman killed in murder-suicide as funny, fun-loving

Amy DeSombre recalled one of her oldest friends as a good mother and a funny, fun-loving woman with a passion for life. Another friend remembers long conversations they would have late into the night in high school and beyond.

"She has been my best friend since we were 4 years old," DeSombre said of Sandra Marie Kerner, 40, who was shot to death earlier this week by her boyfriend, Brian Wesley Gordon, 34, who then fatally shot himself.

Harford County Sheriff's deputies found Ms. Kerner's body inside the home she shared with Gordon in the 1500 block of Robinson Mill road in Street. They were responding to the home for a reported of a suicide around 7:30 a.m. Monday, and found Mr. Gordon had shot himself. He had shot Ms. Kerner sometime overnight, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Detectives still have no motive in the murder-suicide, according to Cristie Kahler, spokesperson for the sheriff's office.

DeSombre and Ms. Kerner grew up together in the same Fallston neighborhood off Watervale Road, both graduated from Fallston High School in 1992 and had remained close friends. DeSombre said she was supposed to see her friend, whom everyone called Sandy, on Saturday, but the timing just didn't work out.

"As kids, we did everything together. We were inseparable as kids," DeSombre, who lives in White Hall, said. "We always had fun, we always got in trouble together."

When Ms. Kerner was a little girl, DeSombre said, she had always wanted a horse or a pony, but her father never let her have one, so the two girls would ride together.

Ms. Kerner was a devoted mother, DeSombre said.

Earlier this summer, she gave birth to her third child.

"She absolutely adored that baby," she said.

The two would often talk about Ms. Kerner having a baby at 40, and DeSombre said she joked with her friend, "Better you than me."

It was just one of the many things the friends talked about over the years.

"We would talk for hours upon end about growing up together and our children and husbands. She would always say, 'How do you remember all that stuff?' I just said I have a good long term memory but a horrible short term one. She would just laugh at me," DeSombre recalled.

"She was a great person. Funny. Talks a lot, cracks jokes all the time. We just got along really good," she said.

Like all friends, they had their issues, "but we understood each other. She would tell me things, I would tell her things and we each understood about each other's situations," DeSombre said.

"She was a great friend and I am going to miss her so much. She was my go-to girl," DeSombre said. "I love her with all my heart. My prayers and thoughts go out to her family."

Steven Vannoy, a 1991 Fallston High graduate, who said he dated Ms. Kerner in high school, said the two would have long, long phone conversations late into the night that would often get one or both of them in trouble with their parents.

"I remember a number of times I got in trouble for staying on phone too late on a school night," Vannoy, who moved to Florida 22 years ago, said over the phone from his home in Jacksonville.

He lost touch with Ms. Kerner after high school, but, like many people, reconnected on Facebook several years later.

Vannoy met Ms. Kerner when he was a high school freshman and she was in eighth grade.

"We always hit it off. One of the funny things about it, we had great conversations, but she was sort of shy, but not real shy. There were certain things she came out of her shell with," he said. "We were always good friends. We had good, long conversations."

One of the things Vannoy and Ms. Kerner connected over was music; they both liked bands like Van Halen and Guns N' Roses.

"Every time new music would come out, we'd compare notes," he said.

"She was a good person. People always say that, but with her, it was true," Vannoy said. "I'm shocked by what happened and it affected me a little bit. I was pretty close to her and I will never forgot that connection. I'm really sad we'll never talk again or have that connection again."

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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