STROUDSBURG — Extra security is planned for Thursday when the suspect accused of shooting and killing three people at a township municipal meeting is in court.
Courthouse square in downtown Stroudsburg will be closed to traffic and parking prohibited in preparation for the preliminary hearing of Rockne Newell.
Police say Newell opened fire at a meeting in the Ross Township municipal building in August, killing three people and injuring several others.
Crews were setting up barricades on the street corners surrounding the Monroe County Courthouse in downtown Stroudsburg. This is part of the preparation to make sure nothing goes wrong at the preliminary hearing for Newell.
Police say Newell was upset over a dispute with township supervisors involving his land. Three people were killed in the gunfire at the township meeting and others were injured.
To ensure safety in the area during the hearing, the borough is closing off Monroe and North Seventh Streets. Parking is also not allowed there.
Local businesses also have notices posted.
“Look what he did. You got to protect people anyway you can,” said Janice Huppe at Sarah’s Corner Café.
“I think maybe it’s too much but I understand they want to be safe,” said Maria Bickert at Café Duet.
“I guess they’re worried about his safety, more so than the general public’s,” said Tamara Pilgermayer of Quakertown.
For businesses in the courthouse square area, they say this is actually a good thing for them.
Cafe Duet located adjacent to the courthouse has been open for business for about three months.
“We might not get the regulars who park around here but we’ll get other business from people hanging out and reporters,” Bickert said.
That’s the same feeling a half a block away at Sarah’s Corner Café.
“We’re kind of hoping we get a lot of them over here, meandering around, need a place to eat, get a cup of coffee,” Huppe said.
Starting Wednesday night, Stroud Area Regional police will bag meters and ticket or tow cars that aren’t moved.
There will also be more police in the area for the preliminary hearing for Rockne Newell. It’s scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Thursday.