Township Officials Hold First Meeting Following Shooting Death of Employee

BARRETT TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- It was an emotional night in the Poconos as township officials met for the first time since a municipal worker was shot and killed last week.

Paradise Township officials gathered at the Barrett Paradise Friendly Library near Cresco Monday evening. It was their first meeting since the death of Michael Tripus, 65, of Stroudsburg.

The board of supervisors began their meeting with a moment of silence in honor of Tripus.

"This is the sort of thing you never expect is going to happen in your neighborhood," said Peter Gonze, Paradise Township supervisor.

Tripus was the zoning and codes enforcement officer. He died after he was shot last Tuesday inside the Paradise Township Municipal Building.

The suspect, David Green of Swiftwater, never left the scene until police arrived to arrest him. He told reporters he didn't know why he did it.

Investigators are also trying to figure out why.

"All these things are making the case strong, but we want to know more about the backgrounds and motives that led up to that," said Monroe County First Assistant District Attorney Michael Mancuso.

The Paradise Township Municipal Building has not been in use since the shooting.

Officials say counselors have been brought in to assist employees who are having a hard time processing the shooting death of their co-worker right before their eyes.

"We're hopeful that we can get back in the building and return to normalcy, but we recognize it's going to take a long time," said Gonze.

Paradise Township officials say they will try to reopen the municipal building Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. Supervisors say if it proves to be too emotional for employees, they will move to a maintenance building on the property.

Tripus was laid to rest Monday morning.