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3 dead in Pa. town hall shooting

Shooter ID'd, had long standing grudge over property issues

August 6, 2013

The suspected gunman in the town hall shooting that killed three people and injured three others at a town hall meeting in the Poconos has admitted to the shooting, state police say.

Tuesday morning, the suspect in the shooting, Rockne Newell, was arraigned on charges of criminal homicide, Pennsylvania State Police Sgt. Brian Vadell said. Newell was in Monroe County jail during the video arraignment, Vadell said. No plea was entered.

State police said Newell, 59, of Ross Township, near Allentown, first fired a long gun through the Ross Township municipal building windows during a town supervisors meeting about 7:30 p.m. local time.

He then went inside, firing a total of 28 rounds before retreating to a rental car to get another weapon.

At that point, two men, Bernie Cozen and Mark Kresh worked together to wrestle the gunman to the ground. Newell was struck in the leg with his own weapon during the struggle.

A court document indicates that Newell admitted to intending to shoot the town’s supervisors and attorney. He allegedly told state police he targeted the meeting because that’s when he could get the town officials together.

Two of the victims died at the scene, and one died on the way to the hospital, but officials say it could have been worse if people had no interceded.

Authorities do believe that Newell “was angry about the condemnation of property” that once belonged to him. They say he’s been feuding with the township over the condition of his property since at least 2004.

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