NBC10.com - Doug Shimell
Residents of Ross Township will come together tonight for their first Municipal meeting since since Rockne Newell allegedly opened fire inside the building, killing three people.
The northeastern Pennsylvania community where a gunman shot to death three people at a municipal meeting will build a new township building.
WNEP-TV said Ross Township supervisors approved a land swap Tuesday night with neighboring Monroe County to gain a new piece of land for a new township building. They'll seek grants to fund the construction.
Tuesday night's meeting was held at the Monroe County Control Center in Snydersville and is the first since the Aug. 5 shooting. Rockne Newell is charged with killing three people because of a long feud with township officials over his junk-strewn property.
Police say Newell was feuding with officials in the rural Ponoco-area town -- located about 70 miles north of Philadelphia -- over living conditions at his ramshackle, trash-filled property.
Investigators say Newell approached the building armed with a long gun and opened fire through the windows of the building. As he continued to advance, police say Newell, 59, walked inside the building where 15 to 18 members of the township supervisor council as well as attendees were inside
Police say he killed three people -- including one town official -- and injured three others in a rampage that blew holes through the walls and sent people crawling for cover, police said.
"The gunshots were fairly random," said State Police Lt, Col. George Bivens.
A witness says the gunman was tackled by a local official and another man and shot with his own gun before being taken into custody.
David Fleetwood, Gerard Kozic and James Laguardia died from the shooting.
Kozic's wife, Linda Kozic, was seriously injured and planning commission member Frank Piraino, Jr. suffered a graze wound to the head, according to police. A third person, county chairman Howard Beers injured his hand.
Newell bought the property in 1990 but got laid off from his job and landed on disability following a crash.
He says he endured years of harassment from the township and felt hounded by neighbors who saw his property as an eyesore, but he "wasn't bothering anybody" and should have been left alone. His property was condemned a week before the shooting.
As he was being transported to the hospital, Newell gave the unsolicited statement, "I wish I killed more of them," according to court papers.
He fired more than two dozen shots from three different spots with his rifle before grabbing a handgun.
Police say Newell continued to fire his long gun as he made his way through. He then allegedly left the building and returned to the parking lot where he retrieved a hand gun and began shooting again as he came back into the building.
That's when two men intervened and stopped Newell, according to witnesses.
According to court papers, Newell screamed as he was held down.
Ross Township has about 5,500 residents. According to its website, the board of supervisors meets at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of each month. Due to Labor Day, this month's meeting was held on Tuesday.
During the meeting, the supervisors also approved hiring a security company for any event that happens at the current township building. But it's unclear if Ross Township supervisors will ever meet there again.