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Ross Township Shooting: Gunman Opens Fire, Kills 3 at Meeting

Tuesday, 06 Aug 2013 05:07 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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A shooting at a Ross Township meeting in Pennysylvania on Monday left three dead and could have been much worse if bystanders hadn’t tackled the shooter to the ground, The Morning Call reported.

Rockne Newell was arrested and charged with homicide and attempted homicide after he allegedly entered a municipal meeting at the Ross Township Municipal Building and started firing.

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At a news conference, a state police spokesperson said more people could have died if not for two “heroes” who wrestled Newell to the ground, the Morning Call said.

The Associated Press reported that about 15 to 18 people were at the meeting. The three who died were Gerard J. Kozic, 53, and James V. LaGuardia, 64, both of whom were dead at the scene, and David Fleetwood, 62, who died at a nearby hospital.

Newell had apparently been fighting with the township over a run-down property, the AP reported. In 2012, township officials voted to take action against Newell, who reportedly set up an online fundraising page to raise money to fight the township.

"I wish I killed more of them!" Newell said as he was led away, according to The Morning Call.

The AP reported that Newell was armed with a .44 Magnum handgun, and other news reports said he also had a Ruger .223-caliber rifle. It seemed he would shoot at more people when Mark Kresh, a local resident, and a township official, Parks and Recreation Director Bernie Kozen, knocked him to the ground. Newell was shot in the leg during the scuffle.

At his Tuesday arraignment, The Associated Press said Newell told the judge, when asked about real estate he owned, “They stole it from me. That’s what started all this.”

Another person was seriously injured but is expected to survive, The Morning Call said.

That local newspaper said Newell fired about 28 rounds from his rifle through the meeting room windows. He returned to his car and got the .44 Magnum and prepared to go in the building, which was when he was tackled to the ground, The Morning Call said.

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