Town Meeting Shooter: Sorry Innocent People Were Hurt

A man accused of shooting to death three people at a municipal meeting in Monroe County, Pa. following a feud over his junk-strewn property says he's sorry innocent people got hurt but also has harsh words for local officials.

The Pocono Record reports that 59-year-old Rockne Newell said in a jailhouse interview Wednesday that there were "innocent victims" in the Aug. 5 shootings at the Ross Township supervisors meeting, but he says he felt like a victim himself.

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.

Ross Township officials were holding their regular monthly municipal meeting when Newell peppered the town hall with gunfire from the outside.

Using a long gun, Newell fired through the windows and walls, police said. He then walked inside the building, firing, and was eventually tackled by meeting attendees.

Bullets took the lives of David Fleetwood, Gerard Kozic and James Laguardia. Four others, including Newell were hurt.

As he was being transported to the hospital, Newell gave the unsolicited statement, "I wish I killed more of them," according to court papers.

Ross Township has about 5,500 residents. It is located about 70 miles north of Philadelphia.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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