Heroes In The Midst Of Ross Township Tragedy

ROSS TOWNSHIP — Investigators told us more on Tuesday about what led to a tragic shooting Monday night during a supervisors meeting at the Ross Township municipal building in the Poconos.

Police are still searching the home of the alleged gunman Rockne Newell looking for more evidence.

Police say a Newell, 59, of Saylorsburg opened fire Monday night, killing three people. The victims were among those attending a monthly township meeting.

Now state police are investigating the scene including Newell’s two homes and his vehicle for more clues.

Police believe Newell was upset over a land dispute with Ross Township supervisors. They say he the one who opened fire outside the municipal building during a supervisors meeting.

“What I heard from those I spoke with was, we didn’t expect it to happen here,” said Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens, Pennsylvania State Police.

Police say among those who witnessed the tragedy were Mark Kresh and Bernie Kozin. They tackled Newell when he came back in to the municipal building a second time with another gun.  Police are calling both men heroes.

“Bernie needed help subduing this guy.  I joined in to stop the shooting,” said Kresh.

Once the state police got there they say Newell said, “I wish I killed more of them!” and continued to yell, “You took my property.”

Police say Newell’s property in Ross Township was condemned. At the end of July, the township took control of the property during a sheriff’s sale.

The supervisors meeting Monday night was the first since the sale.

“The majority of the initial gunshots were more of a random nature and did not appear to be targeted. Clearly he was upset with the township supervisors and solicitor,” said Lt. Col. Bivens.

Three people died.

They are David Fleetwood, 62, of Saylorsburg, who was both a zoning code officer in Ross Township and a supervisor in nearby Chestnuthill Township; Gerard Kozic, 53, of Saylorsburg; and James Laguardia, 64, of Saylorsburg.

Two others were injured. They are Frank Piraino, Jr. and Linda Kozic, the wife of one of the dead.

When Newell was arraigned about 14 hours later when the district judge asked him if he had any property he replied “No, they stole it from me. That’s what started all this,”

Police are still out searching Newell’s properties.

Earlier in the day police shut down the road where Newell lives in Ross Township for fear Newell set booby traps but police say nothing like that was found.

Click here to read all Newswatch 16 stories on the Ross Township tragedy.

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