Father Of Accused Ross Township Gunman Speaks

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ROSS TOWNSHIP -- The father of the alleged gunman accused of killing three people at a township supervisor's meeting in the Poconos says he knew it was going to happen.

Peter Newell says he tried stopping his son Rockne from the violence Monday night in Monroe County.

And the dad says he notified authorities that his son might be a threat.

Peter Newell, the father of the gunman who police say killed three people during a township meeting Monday night, says his son snapped. He also says he told authorities his son was planning to do something violent and the Monroe County Sheriff says they took that matter seriously

"It's just a shame that everybody had to die through this. It really is," said Peter Newell.

Newswatch 16 spoke the father as he was just about to leave his home.

Police say his son Rockne opened fire during a township supervisor's meeting at the Ross Township municipal building Monday night. Three people were killed, others were injured.

"I felt bad. I knew it was going to happen, like I said, I know this was going to happen."

Newell says that's because weeks before the shooting, he had a conversation with his son who talked about "taking care of the matter."

"Told him it wasn't worth killing somebody and it wasn't worth him dying over, because he said he was going to take his own life."

Police and Rockne's father believe the reason Rockne opened fire is because the township condemned Rockne's property then bought it at a sheriff's sale last month.

"Well, they pushed him to the point. My son done the shooting, there's no if ands or buts about it. But they pushed him to the point to where he snapped."

Peter Newell says he told sheriff's deputies what his son was planning to do but the Monroe County Sheriff says Peter told him Rockne was planning to injure or hurt him and his staff after his department had to serve an eviction notice.

"There (were) no supervisors that were threatened, there were no neighbors that were threatened, it was predominately myself and my staff because we were there doing our job," said Monroe County Sheriff Todd Martin.

Sheriff Martin says he took the threats seriously and if they would go back to Rockne's property they'd alert the state police first.

But on Monday Peter says he had a brief conversation with Rockne about a rental car Rockne was driving.

"I asked him about the car that he had. He said it was a rented car. I said to him 'oh, you got money now?' He said 'I don't have no money and I don't need any after today," he recalled. "I didn't think any more about it."

State police are investigating what Rockne Newell did or said and where he was before the shooting to see if any more charges will be filed against him or anyone else.

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