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. 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, in a rural area of northeastern Pennsylvania about 85 miles north of Philadelphia.