Friends say victim in shooting rampage died trying to save others

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Amid the horror of Monday’s shootings in Ross Township, Monroe County, are stories of heroism among the people in the government building where the violence unfolded.

Police say Rockne Newell opened fire after a long-standing dispute with township officials over his rundown property, which the township condemned last year. Newell killed three people and injured three more, police say.

The victims included David Fleetwood. He was a supervisor in nearby Chestnuthill Township but also served as a zoning administrator in Ross Township.

One of his fellow Chestnuthill supervisors, Chirs Eckert, says police filled the township’s leaders in on the circumstances surrounding Fleetwood’s death.

“(He) actually pushed a woman out of the way, out of the line of fire and stood in front of another woman to shield her from the fire, and subsequently took the shots that he took,” Eckert said.

Police say James LaGuardia and Gerard Kozic, both of Saylorsburg, also lost their lives Monday night. On Tuesday, police identified three more people who were injured. They include Kozic’s wife, Linda, as well as Frank Pirano and Howard Beers, a township supervisor.

Linda Kozic suffered an injury to her leg. Pirano had a bullet graze by his head. He was treated and released from the hospital. Meanwhile, Beers suffered an injury to his hand, police say.

Newell appeared before a judge Tuesday morning but did not enter a plea.