Police ID Town Hall Shooting Victims, Heroes Who Tackled Gunman - FOX 13 News

Police ID Town Hall Shooting Victims, Heroes Who Tackled Gunman

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  • 3 Shot Dead, 3 Hurt At Town Meeting In Poconos

    3 Shot Dead, 3 Hurt At Town Meeting In Poconos

    Bullets fly at a town hall meeting in a small town just north of the Lehigh Valley, leaving three people dead, three others injured and an alleged gunman in custody.
    Bullets fly at a town hall meeting in a small town just north of the Lehigh Valley, leaving three people dead, three others injured and an alleged gunman in custody.

The suspected gunman in the town hall shooting that killed three people and injured three others at a town hall meeting in the Poconos has admitted to the shooting, state police say.

Rockne Newell, 59, has been charged with three counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated assault.

Three people were killed in the shooting shortly after a 7 p.m. monthly meeting began, and three others were wounded.

A court document indicates that Newell admitted to intending to shoot the town's supervisors and attorney. He allegedly told state police he targeted the meeting because that's when he could get the town officials together.

According to the affidavit, Newell told state police, "I wish I killed more of them!"

The gunman fired a rifle through the walls and windows initially, then went inside, firing a total of 28 rounds before retreating to a rental car to get another weapon.

That's when police say two men acted heroically. Both Bernie Cozen and Mark Kresh worked together to wrestle the gunman down even as he was firing.

Newell was struck in the leg with his own weapon during the struggle. The affidavit goes on to say he had expected to be killed during the incident.

Authorities discussed more details of the shooting during an 11 a.m. news conference Tuesday in Saylorsburg.

"I would like to extend our sincere condolences," Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens said.

Two of the victims died at the scene, and one died on the way to the hospital, but officials say it could have been worse if people had not interceded.

Court papers identify the deceased as, Gerard Kozic and James LaGuardia, of Saylorsburg, and David Fleetwood, a supervisor from Chestnuthill Township.

State police believe the shooting was random, not targeting any particular person.

Police said Newell's handgun was lawfully purchased. They're waiting on warrants for his rifle and won't comment on what they found at his two properties.

They said Newell had rented the car on Aug. 3, and he had over 90 rounds of ammo still in the car after the shooting.

Police are searching another car found at his residence.

It was confirmed that both dogs and robots were used at the scene, and that an "investigation is continuing at this point."

Authorities do believe that Newell "was angry about the condemnation of property" that once belonged to him. They say he'd been feuding with the township over the condition of his property since at least 2004.

He was arrested in the early '80s for reckless endangerment.

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