Gunman Kills Three at Town Hall Meeting

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 6 2013 11:17 AM

Gunman Kills Three at Town Hall Meeting Over Apparent Property Dispute

Three people are dead and several others wounded after a disgruntled man opened fire at a town hall meeting in rural Pennsylvania on Monday night. Officials are saying that the 59-year-old gunman, Rockne Newell, had been in a dispute with township officials in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains for years over the living conditions on his trash-filled and dilapidated property. The most interesting eye-witness account comes from Chris Reber, a reporter for the Pocono Record who was covering his first board meeting when the bullets began to fly. Here's a snippet of his first-person account:

"The thing that got my attention: plaster flying out, blowing out through the walls. Witnesses would later tell me they saw pictures exploding away from the walls. I heard more than 10 shots. It was automatic, like a string of firecrackers. That's what everyone said. ...
"I crawled out to a hallway and then got outside. There is nothing in reality you can compare it to. It just was not in reality. All I could think was: It wasn't happening to me. I went outside to the parking lot. There was a girl there calling 911. I was taking cover behind a truck, an SUV. I was about 50 yards away.
"The gunman was this guy wearing a blue Hawaiian shirt. I saw him go back out to his car — a silver Impala — and get another gun. I saw him get something out of his car. I didn't see blood when I left. It wasn't real to me until I went back inside and saw people bleeding."
Advertisement

Newell was eventually tackled by a someone who had attended the meeting, and was shot with his own gun, according to eye-witnesses. He remains in police custody at a local hospital. The best bet as for Newell's motivation appears to be a court decision from last year that ordered him to leave his property and put it up for sale. "If I lose this property," Newell told the Record earlier this summer, "I have nowhere else to go."

In addition to relaying his first-person account to his editors, Reber also filed a more traditional write-up of the meeting gone wrong, which you can read here.

Jennifer Lai is an associate editor at Slate.

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.