Town hall meeting shooting: Gunman opens fire at rural Pennsylvania town hall meeting, killing three and injuring others.

Gunman Kills Three at Town Hall Meeting

Gunman Kills Three at Town Hall Meeting

The Slatest
Your News Companion
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:

Jennifer Lai Jennifer Lai

Jennifer Lai is an associate editor at Slate.

"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."
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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.