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Audio of Pa. meeting shooting is played at hearing

November 14, 2013
Associated Press

STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Prosecutors on Thursday played a disturbing audio recording that captured the chaos of a summertime shooting rampage at a Pennsylvania municipal building that left three people dead.

County prosecutors played the tape at a preliminary hearing for 59-year-old Rockne Newell, who is accused of opening fire at the Ross Township building on Aug. 5.

The township supervisors routinely record their meetings and the tape was rolling when the gunman blasted his way into the room, yelling obscenities as people screamed and overturned tables. Police have said that Newell retreated from the building but came back and began shooting again.

In the chaotic aftermath, a woman who had been shot in the leg could be heard on the tape begging her husband to breathe and "stay with me." He died.

A judge will decide if there's enough evidence to send the case to trial.

Police said Newell packed a rental car with guns and ammunition before opening fire at the meeting, killing 62-year-old township zoning officer David Fleetwood and two Saylorsburg residents, Gerard Kozic, 53, and James LaGuardia, 64.

The 5-foot-10, 240-pound suspect was eventually tackled by two men and shot in the leg during the scuffle, officials said.

Police said Newell, a disabled junk dealer, was upset over losing his debris-strewn property in the wake of a court battle with the township over complaints that he lived in a storage shed, built an illegal culvert and used a bucket outside as a toilet.

He has said he regrets that "innocent people got hurt" but claimed township officials persecuted him for more than two decades. He allegedly told police he had gone to the meeting in hopes of finding the township officials in one place.

At his arraignment on homicide charges the day after the shootings, a judge asked Newell if he owned any real estate.

"They stole it from me. That's what started all this," he replied.



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