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Service marks one month since mass shooting in Ross Township

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 05 2013 05:00:18 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 05 2013 06:11:14 PM CDT

One month anniversary of Ross Township shooting

ROSS TWP., Pa. -

 It's been exactly one month since a gunman opened fire at the Ross Township municipal building in Monroe County.

Neighbors will come together Thursday night for a unity service just feet from the building.

Since Aug. 5, a lot has changed in the Ross Township community. An armed guard now patrols the municipal building.

Victims of the shooting are still healing, and supervisors who survived have not gone back into the meeting space. 

Police are searching for answers and people who live across from the municipal building are wondering what happened.

"I helped a woman do CPR on one of the victims, and I tried to comfort one of the other victims until police and ambulance arrived," said Dave Labar.

That was Aug. 5, a day that will forever be remembered in Ross Township.

Hours later, state police took Rockne Newell into custody. In exclusive video, Newell, 59, told 69 News the incident started over a land dispute.

"They finally screwed me over with that go along, get along judge," said Newell.

"So you pull out a gun," asked WFMZ's Will Lewis.

"They tormented me for 23 years," replied Newell.

In the following weeks, there were vigils in the community and funerals for the three who died: Dave Fleetwood, James LaGuardia, and Jerry Kozic.

"I don't know about the death penalty. I know he is a sick man," said Linda Kozic, who was injured by one of Newell's bullets and lost her husband to another.

Two days ago, Ross Township commissioners held a meeting in a different facility under the watchful eye of the Monroe County Sheriff's Department.

The group hired a security company to guard the current township building. It also approved preliminary plans to build a new municipal building.

"It was very tragic and I'm sure everyone is sorry," said Supervisor Howard Beers Jr.

The service will start at 7 p.m. Several faith leaders are scheduled to speak.