3 dead in Eastern Pennsylvania shooting

Reply Mon 5 Aug, 2013 10:12 pm

CNN wrote:
(CNN) -- Three people were killed and several more were wounded in a shooting at a town supervisors' meeting in eastern Pennsylvania, officials said Monday night.
Earlier, Pennsylvania State Police said four people were killed, but later revised that number.
The shooting broke out around 7:30 p.m. ET at the Ross Township building in Saylorsburg, about 75 miles north of Philadelphia, Monroe County Emergency Management Director Guy Miller told CNN.
Police identified the suspect as Rockne Newell of Saylorsburg. Newell was among those shot and was being treated at Pocono Medical Center Monday night. Police said exactly how he was shot is under investigation.
State police Lt. Robert Bartel said Newell had an onogng dispute with officials involving the condemnation of his property and issues with his sewer. Bartel said it's not clear whether Newell knew any of the victims shot.
Ross Township's three-member Board of Supervisors meets the first Monday night of the month at the township's municipal building. Monroe County Commissioner Suzanne McCool said it was "the quietest township in Monroe County."
"They are never in the newspaper," McCool said. She said she knew of no controversial issues before the supervisors.

Whaddaya now about this, farmerman?
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Reply Tue 6 Aug, 2013 05:21 am
@Lustig Andrei,
The township was about 100 miles away from where we live, so It wasn't until the late news hen I heard of it.
Townships are a minor governmental district and they are unique to rural areas in PA
Say;orsburg is an area of the shallow sided woods covered Pocono "mountains" .Its mostly occupied by farm folks and vacation homes. Saylorsburg has a nice flood control dam and has a turnpike interchange nearby. Not much of anything other than peace and quiet and one quarry.
When a township in Pa gets big (pop>5000 people), It usually yransfers froma 3 to a 5 person bpard pf Suprvisors.

Apparently the assailant had a beef with the Suprvisors and he attended a monthly meeting to confront them. Pa is a state full of hunters and some gun nuts. This guy had some guns and apparently snapped.
Ill ind out more substantive news as the Allentown stations get the news together correctly. (I usually avoid first reports cause they are usually concise and on -time and invariably dead wrong)

Being a Supervisor is not an elected job that engenders love. There are usually always some citizens who have major gipes with their local BOARDS of SUPERVISORS.

Stuff like, subdivision approvas (based on planning commission reccomendations), Ordinances, Nuisance complaints and road conditions for "township roads" are all discussed at the monthly meetings.

AS Ive told you nothing, Ill pledge to find out more as the news festers.

Monroe County is bear country . The largest bear ever shot in PA was taken there.
Reply Tue 6 Aug, 2013 06:11 am
By JOANN LOVIGLIO — Associated Press

SAYLORSBURG, Pa. — A gunman blasted shots through the wall of a Pennsylvania municipal building during a meeting on Monday and then barged into the meeting room and killed three people before being tackled by a local official and possibly another person and shot with his own gun, a witness said.

State police in Lehighton confirmed the three deaths and said the gunman, identified as 59-year-old Rockne Newell, had an ongoing dispute with township officials over the possible condemnation of his unkempt property. They said about 15 to 18 residents and town officials were at the meeting place, a short drive from Newell's property, when the gunfire erupted.

The shooting, which injured at least two other people, happened shortly before 7:30 p.m. during Ross Township's monthly meeting, Monroe County emergency management director Guy Miller said. The gunman, who appeared to be "shooting randomly," was captured and was treated at a hospital, he said.

Two people died at the scene, and a third person died after being flown to a hospital. Police confirmed that at least one of the dead was a township official but declined to give additional details. A fourth person, a woman, was in surgery with undisclosed injuries.

Investigators said Newell began shooting as he approached the building and continued as he walked into and through it. He then went back out to his vehicle in the parking lot, retrieved a handgun and went back into the building, firing more shots, police said.

Pocono Record reporter Chris Reber said he was at the township building when a man armed with a long gun with a scope shot through a wall into the meeting place, in a rural area of northeastern Pennsylvania about 85 miles north of Philadelphia.

"The thing that got my attention: plaster flying out, blowing out through the walls. Witnesses would later tell me they saw pictures exploding away from the walls," Reber said in a first-person account told to his editors Marta Gouger and Chris Mele. "I heard more than 10 shots."

He said he crawled out to a hallway, exited the building and took cover behind a vehicle.

"The gunman was this guy wearing a blue Hawaiian shirt," he said. "I saw him go back out to his car, a silver Impala, and get another gun.

"It wasn't real to me until I went back inside and saw people bleeding."

A local official at the meeting grabbed the shooter and subdued him, Reber said.

"(West End Open Space Commission executive director) Bernie Kozen bear-hugged the gunman and took him down," Reber said. "He shot the shooter with his own gun."

State police said they believed two people may have subdued the gunman, who was shot in one of his legs.

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, who represents the state's 17th District, said he was "appalled at the atrocities that claimed the lives of innocent citizens in Ross Township." He said he had heard about what Kozen did to prevent more bloodshed.

"Mr. Kozen is a true hero tonight," Cartwright said in an emailed statement.

Kozen's wife, reached by telephone at their home Monday night, said he wasn't there and she was unsure when he'd be back.

Newell had been in a long-running dispute with township officials over the dilapidated condition of his property, state police Capt. Edward Hoke said. The township supervisors voted in February 2012 to take legal action against Newell for violating zoning and sewer regulations, according to meeting minutes posted online.

The ramshackle property includes an old camper in the front yard filled with wooden pallets, pieces of what appear to be old railroad ties and trash. A garage leans and appears close to collapse, and a propane tank sits inside an old dog house.

State police, who guarded the property early Tuesday, were awaiting a search warrant so they could enter it.

In June, the Pocono Record wrote a story about what it said was an 18-year fight between the township and Newell over his property.

Monroe County Court in August 2012 sided with the township and ordered Newell to vacate and never again occupy or use the property unless he had the permits to do so. The report said Newell had been living out of a car and in abandoned buildings since being ordered to vacate.

Newell told the newspaper he was unemployed for years after an injury from a crash and had nowhere else to go.

"They have no right to kick me off my property," he told the newspaper. "They call my property an eyesore. When I bought it, it was one of only three properties on the entire road that didn't have what they call junk."

Newell was in police custody after being treated at the hospital Monday night and couldn't be reached for comment, and there was no telephone number listed for his property.

Ross Township has about 5,500 residents. According to its website, the board of supervisors meets at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of each month

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/08/05/3085356/2-people-shot-dead-at-pa-municipal.html#storylink=cpy

This is from the Pocono Newspaper from E Stroudsburg.

Seems it was all about a vacate order given by the Suprvisors and probably started as a complaint from nearby citizens. This guy , although he has no excuse for the muders, was probably brought to this brink by a feeling of hopelessness and anger at the government for denying him the righ to live on his property. A lot of these areas where it once had been hills and hollers, are becoming gentrified with million dollar vacation homes that , while raising the tax base just ONCE, place demands of service on cash strapped rural munis.
I saw some pictures of his property and it was a real dump, with only a gutted trailer for Newell to live in. Usually, when a property gets in that condition a township will pitch in and help clean it up and back charge the owner.

Two of the Supervisors were armed , but the perp was tackled and tied up . Apparently he was accidently shot in the leg later as he was being subdued and tied up. I don't believe any of the Armed supervisors drew their own guns to take the perp out. This showed restraint , since most of the killing occurred before the gunmanwas even in the meeting room. He was firing through the walls of the frame building.

Sad, really fuckin sad.

Township Supervisors in Pa are only paid expenses and they are, by design, the entire system of law and order in many rural areas. Hell, in some western counties, the COUNTY governments are located in counties where the entire population may be uner 2000 people.
Reply Tue 6 Aug, 2013 06:35 am
Thanks Farmerman.

Interesting an one wonder if everyone would had been better off instead of having a decade plus legal battle with this man and ending up kicking him off his own lands the money spend to do so would had been as you said better spend helping him out and getting him some mental health treatment if at all possible.

Always have government funds to build more prisons but no funds for mental health treatment programs.

As a nation we closed down the mental health hospitals in the 1950s/60s and never funded the outpatient treatments programs that was to replaced them.

Damn shame.

Lustig Andrei
Reply Tue 6 Aug, 2013 06:48 am
Thanx so much for your prompt attention to this, fm.
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Reply Tue 6 Aug, 2013 06:57 am
These kinds of stories are common all over. We have one of these kinds of guys in our township and, fortunately, hes not surrounded by "McMansions". Hes surrounded by Amish Farms and the Amish kind of have adopted him and even provide him with meals. The township has been able to "Sell" a lot of his scrap metal and to take the funds received and give him the proceeds (minus the diesel fule for trucks and front loaders)
Hes managed to keep ahead of having a real dump and a vector source, and hes being watched a bit closely.
NOW, after this shooting, Im sure ou own "hermit" will be more closely monitored for his health and welfare.

I think the govt in the Saylorsburg Township have let it slip to become a depersonalized "Vogon" govt . When supervisors don't actively get involved in the govt and ony show up for the required meetings.
We have a good bunch of Supv in our township and the surrounding Townships. There are usually one or two supervisors who become the "FAce" of the township. These guys are usually retired professionals or farmers who visit homes where problems become obvious.

Reply Tue 6 Aug, 2013 07:10 am
I was born in the town of Pen Argyl, PA myself and when I ran across the old family home up for sell at a cheap price on the internet I needed to have a long talk with myself over not buying it back.

One thing unlike Florida I would not have a need to worry about the raising sea levels. Smile
Reply Tue 6 Aug, 2013 09:46 am
The "slate belt" is kind of between deterioration and revitalization.
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Lustig Andrei
Reply Tue 6 Aug, 2013 10:30 am

That's the accused shooter, Newell, in a photo taken about two months ago before another council meeting.
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