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Shooting victim recalls Ross Township tragedy

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 29 2013 06:28:26 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 30 2013 05:26:28 AM CDT

One-on-One with shooting survivor Linda Kozic

ROSS TOWNSHIP, Pa. -

Linda Kozic survived a shooting rampage in Monroe County earlier this month, but was seriously injured.

Now she's talking about what happened that night and how her life has changed.

Her days are filled with doctor's appointments, friends and flashbacks of the incident that put her in a wheelchair.

On Aug. 5, Kozic and her husband Jerry went to a Ross Township supervisors meeting where police say 59-year-old Rockne Newell opened fire.

"We heard the man say something to the effect 'you're going to take my land, I'm going to take your life,'" said Kozic.

She won't say Newell's name.

She remembers hearing David Fleetwood saying "no no no" before he was shot.

Then a bullet shattered her leg.

And she watched her husband and their neighbor James LaGuardia be gunned down. They both died, as did Fleetwood.

When Newell was shot in the leg as he was subdued, "he cried like a baby, like a coward," said Kozic.

She says she told Newell to shut up and take it like a man.

Now, three weeks later, she finds herself conflicted over whether he should die.

"I don't know about the death penalty;  I know he is a sick man," said Kozic.

Kozic said ironically, her husband was sympathetic to Newell and was talking about ways to help him hang onto his land.

She's now considering legal action, saying the fateful meeting should have been canceled -- especially if township officials knew about threats made by Newell.

"Maybe when we got there, there should have been a note that said 'you know this happened, this is what he said he is going to do, cancel the meeting or come in at your own risk'. I don't know.. whatever... but yeah, I do think there is responsibility there," she said.

Kozic says for now she is trying to figure out a way to memorialize her husband and focus on healing.

The funeral for 53-year-old Jerry Kozic was held Saturday.  It was delayed until after his critically injured widow could finally be released from the hospital.