Three shot dead at township meeting, gunman tackled

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Ross Township, Monroe County – A gunman opens fire during a township meeting in Northeast Pennsylvania, killing three people.  The shots came from through the walls before the 59-year-old suspect allegedly made his way inside to continue the massacre.

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Picture courtesy of WNEP

If not for the brave actions of two men inside the meeting, this massacre could have been worse.  A 59-year-old man who apparently had a dispute with township supervisors opened fire at a meeting in the Poconos and killed three people and hurt two others before being tackled and subdued.

“It was pretty chaotic, hectic,” said Monroe County Emergency Management Director Guy Miller.

Gunfire erupted at a township meeting in the Poconos leaving three people dead and another two people hurt.

“There was a municipal meeting going on at the Ross Township building, and a gunman came into the building, started shooting randomly at the people in the room,” Miller said.

Police say that gunman , 59-year-old Rockne Newell, was mad about a property dispute and opened fire during a Ross Township Supervisors meeting last night as the meeting was wrapping up just before 7:30 p.m.  Eyewitnesses describe bullets coming through the walls.  Then, the gunman barged in.

“He was entering the building with a handgun and certainly his intent had been shown that he wanted to harm the people,” said Robert Bartel of the Pennsylvania State Police.

Police believe Newell at one point went back to his car to get another gun.  When he came back, two men tackled the suspect and shot him with his own gun, holding him down until police could get on scene.

“It’s certainly courageous what they did.  They absolutely would have saved lives,” Bartel said.

A total of 15 to 18 people were inside the room at the time of the shooting, with many of them hiding behind desks or dropping to the floor to get away from the gunfire.  In all, three people were killed but the massacre could have been even worse.

“If they would not have done that he would have killed or injured other people,” said Bartel.

At least one of two other people that were hurt during the shooting was taken to surgery at an area hospital.  The alleged gunman was also treated for a gunshot wound but is expected to survive.

State Police say Rockne Newell had a total of two weapons during the attack.  They are awaiting a search warrant to go through his home and try and find any evidence in the case.  However, there are worries about booby traps on the property.