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Ross Twp. employee Truman Burnett forced to jump to safety during shooting

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 05 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 07 2013 05:29:53 AM CDT

A look inside the chaos.

ROSS TWP., PA. -

A look inside the chaos that was Monday night's Ross Twp. supervisors meeting:

"He shot through the windows, through the drywall, where people were sitting in the conference room having the meeting," witness Truman Burnett said.

The township head of sewage and 37-year employee Burnett was inside theĀ  Municipal building when police say Rockne Newell opened fire, killing three and wounding three.

"They were facing the opposite way, he shot them in the back," Burnett said.

Police say close to 30 shots were fired into the building from Newell's rifle.

"I jumped up with everyone else. There was another man in front of me. He kicked the door open and went out and I followed him," he recounted.

Truman says he and another man were desperately trying to get outside to the building's walkway.

"I glanced over and I saw puffs of smoke coming out of his rifle. I saw him fall down, I don't know where he shot him but I saw him fall on his face," he went on to say.

So 68-year-old, 200 pound Burnett did the only thing he could do to save his life.

"I just dove over the top of the balcony, down to the ground," Burnett said.

Police say Newell had been in a bitter property dispute with the township for years. Recently the township bought Newell's home in a sheriff's sale.

Did Burnett think Newell was targeting him and the other supervisors?

"I don't know, I just know he was very upset with people in the Township," Burnett stated.

Aside from being stiff, Truman says his injuries are minor. He was treated at the hospital for stress.

Truman says he is very lucky to be alive.