Man Opens Fire At Pennsylvania Town Meeting, At Least Three People Killed, Others Wounded

Ross PA Shooting scene from NBC News.

Photo from NBC News.

At least three people were killed and another three wounded by a gunman who opened fire at a meeting of Town Supervisors, Monday evening in Pennsylvania. After a shooting rampage that began outside of the building, the gunman made his way inside, continuing to fire his weapon from within the building, until a local official was able to tackle him. The official turned the man’s weapon against him, finally bringing the nightmare to an end. The shooting happened in Ross Township, which is located in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. Monday night’s shooting occurred just four hours from the town of Gilberton, where local militia surrounded a town meeting brandishing assault weapons, earlier this week.

At a little before 7:30 pm gunshots were reported coming from the building where Ross Township Supervisors hold regularly scheduled meetings. State police Capt. Edward Hoke held a press conference shortly after the shootings. According to Hoke, two of the shooting victims died on the scene, while the third was pronounced dead at a local hospital. A fourth victim was undergoing emergency surgery at the time of the press conference, but the condition of that victim was not readily available. A victim who was struck in the head by one of the gunman’s bullets was reported to be in good condition. Another person was taken to the hospital after suffering a stress related heart attack during the shooting rampage.

Police identified the shooter as a Ross Township resident, Rockne Warren Newell, age 59.  Newell was released from the hospital and taken into police custody. According to witnesses, the gunman began firing his weapon from outside the building, shooting through the windows, where between fifteen and eighteen Township Supervisors were holding the public meeting. Newell continued to fire his weapon as he entered the Municipal Building, while those inside the building tried to shield themselves from the gunfire. The shooter then left the building before quickly returning with a second weapon.

After Newell was tackled by Bernie Kozen, the Executive Director of one of the township’s commissions, he was shot with his own weapon. Officials were then able to restrain him until police arrived.

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A reporter for The Pocono Record, Chris Reber, who was present at the meeting when the gunfire began later described the experience:

There were about 15 people in the rectangular room seated on padded folding chairs.

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.

I heard more than 10 shots.

It was automatic, like a string of firecrackers. That’s what everyone said. Then it stopped and I crawled out the side door.

The names of the victims have not yet been released to the public.