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Ross Township tries to heal in aftermath of shooting

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 08 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 09 2013 05:23:07 AM CDT

A community is coming together to heal in the wake of a tragic shooting in Ross Township.

GILBERT, Pa. -

A community gathered again Thursday to heal in the wake of a tragic shooting in Ross Twp., Monroe Co.

For some, that healing starts in church. Community members met at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Gilbert.

Many people at the service said it's still too soon to speak about what took place at the Ross Township municipal building Monday night, but many said the tragedy will not define this community.

The pastor of the church told 69 News that people in the community have been asking one question: Why?

Three lights shone bright in the church sanctuary, one for each of the victims who died in the shooting.

"These men were loved by their neighbors, their families, their friends. They were dedicated to their community," said Pa. Rep. Rosemary Brown.

David Fleetwood, Gerard Kozic and James Laguardia lost their lives when Rockne Newell started shooting outside the building and then continued inside, state police said.

"As township supervisor, I never imagined that anything like this could, or would ever happen," said Howard Beers, chairman of the Ross Township Board of Supervisors.

Beers, who was in the building Monday night, told the crowd not to allow anger to consume them.

"What happened on Monday night should give us all a new perspective in our lives to live everyday as your last," said Beers. "Don't worry about material things. Love your family. Take time for your family."

As people lit a candle, they were told that these men were a bright light in the community and their light will shine on forever.

"Lord, we thank you for those of us who were spared," said Beers, as he prayed with the crowd. "We thank you for the heroes. We just thank you for being here to live another day."

The crowd also gave a standing ovation to the men who wrestled Rockne Newell to the ground.