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50 Years Since Mass Shooting in Clinton County

LOCK HAVEN -- It happened decades ago, but the story is still difficult for many people in Clinton County.

Monday marks 50 years since a man went on a shooting rampage in Lock Haven, killing six coworkers and wounding several others.

"We all want to forget it. It was a bad time, real bad."

Retired State Trooper John Keeler didn't know it at the time. It was early on in his 28-year career with the Pennsylvania State Police, but on October 23, 1967, he was dispatched to a tragedy he would never forget and many others would never come to understand.

"I went immediately to the entrance of the Hammermill Paper Company and witnessed my first victim. He had been shot in the back of the head," Keeler recalled.

For many people who live in Lock Haven and nearby Loganton, the memory of that day 50 years ago is one of loss.

The shooter, 39-year-old Leo Held, worked at the Hammermill Paper Company in Lock Haven.

"He was a very low-key, mild-mannered individual," said Keeler.

But that day, something changed.

"Leo Held went there specifically to commit mass murder," Keeler said.

Held killed six people that day at locations in Lock Haven and Loganton. The men were co-workers, bosses, and a neighbor. To so many others, they were fathers, husbands, and friends.

Seven others were hurt.

50 years later, the question still remains: why?

"His fellow workers made fun of him," Keeler said.

Keeler says possible explanations include a female co-worker who wouldn't carpool with Held because of his erratic driving. Another potential explanation is that his bosses passed him over for promotions.

"They expected him to take what they gave him and live his life," said Keeler.

Held was shot by police the same day of the rampage. He died at the hospital.

Keeler says there is another explanation for the shooting, but that remains confidential to police.

Many in Clinton County don't mind keeping it that way.

11 comments

  • Gene Ralno

    Murder is rare, even in the U.S. The difference in murder rates between the U.S. and other so-called civilized western nations is measured in thousandths of a percent. Today, murders in the U.S. are concentrated in a handful of the largest cities. According to John Lott’s Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), half the nation’s murders occur in only 63 counties while the other half are spread across the other 3,081 counties. Said another way, 15% had one murder while 54 percent of the nation’s counties had no murders at all.

  • yuiki

    People are crazy, ignorant, evil and 2 faced in Pennsylvania. I’m surprised this doesn’t happen all the time.

    • i_see_crazy_people

      Truth, the bible tells us so. Reminds me of my 81 yr old MIL saying and I quote; “You didn’t hear of ‘stuff like this,’ happening years ago,” mmmkk..this was 50yrs ago when all her kids were little..soooo…
      Jeremiah 17:9
      The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

    • Black rifles matter

      They should have had ‘common sense’ gun laws back then – this could have been prevented. (end sarcasm)

      • Lloyd Schmucatelli

        They did have common sense gun laws back then.

        It was common to own a gun because it made sense.

Comments are closed.