Gunman Kills Three In Pennsylvania Rampage Before Dying In Shootout With State Police
A gunman went on a deadly rampage through a quiet Pennsylvania town on Friday, killing a woman decorating a church for Christmas and two other men on a rural road.
The gunman was shot to death by state troopers after he opened fire on patrol cars, wounding three officers, authorities said.
The shooter was identified by neighbors in Geeseytown as Jeff Michael, 44, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. State police have not confirmed his identity.
The shooting scene “extended over several miles,” leaving three people dead and three troopers wounded, including one officer who was struck by two bullets to the chest, said Blair County District Attorney Rich Consiglio.
All three officers are expected to recover.
Investigators on Saturday were still piecing together the scene, but said it appeared the gunman began by shooting Kimberly A. Scott, 58, as she was putting up decorations for a children’s Christmas party at the Juniata Valley Gospel Church.
It was unclear why Scott was targeted.
“I don’t know what that man would have been doing there, he must have been a sick man,” church member Marlene Helsley told WTAJ.
From the church, the shooter jumped in his car, racing down Juniata Valley Road, where he shot and killed a man identified as Kenneth Lynn. During the three mile rampage, Michael rammed his truck into another car and shot the driver. That victim was identified by neighbors as William Rhodes.
State police in at least two patrol cars rushed to contain the gunman and were greeted with gunfire.
“From the first encounter we already had one trooper who had been struck and received some fragmentation in the wrist. Another trooper in the second vehicle had gotten some glass fragments in his eyes and forehead,” said Lt, Colonel George Blivens of the Pennsylvania State Police says.
The gunman continued in his truck and crashed head on into a third marked patrol car.
Troopers returned fire, killing him. A third trooper was struck by two bullets.
“We have seized some weapons. … It’s safe to say there was more than one weapon,” state police Deputy Commissioner Lt. Col. George Bivens said at a press conference.
Police would not say what kind of guns Michael was using.
The rampage follows a violent month in the country, with mass shootings at a Portland mall and a massacre of children and educators at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school last week.