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Suspect's friends talk about alleged shooter Rockne Newell

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 06 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 08 2013 04:59:19 AM CDT

Suspect's friends talk about alleged shooter

ROSS TWP., Pa. -

The father of confessed shooter Rockne Newell says his son had been talking about harming people for awhile.

Leading some to ask: why didn't he warn anyone?

But the father says he did.

Pete Newell says he told Monroe County Sheriff's deputies his son was dangerous a month before the shooting.

"I told them you know, 'the sad part of this is people are going to be dead over this.'  I said, 'he is going to flip'," said Newell.

Pete Newell says back in June, Monroe County Sheriff's deputies came looking for his son Rockne Newell to serve him eviction papers on his Flyte Road, Ross Township property.

Sheriff Todd Martin says the elder Newell relayed a threat by his son to sheriff's deputies.

"The threat was if they came back someone was going to be hurt...maybe even killed," said Martin.

Both Newell and the sheriff say there was no mention of a threat to supervisors that day.

But Pete Newell says his son was angry about losing his property.

He says it was common knowledge that Rockne Newell was talking about violence against township officials.

He says his son's frustration had been building during decades of legal wrangling with the township.

Monroe County Emergency Planner Maryellen Keegan says she saw Newell's frustration firsthand when he filed for FEMA disaster relief funds after Hurricanes Irene and Sandy.

Keegan says Newell expressed a lot of anger about his dealings with the township.

"We advise all residents to call their municipality and at times there was some concern from him that his property wouldn't get reported properly in order to get funding for his damages," said Keegan.

Senator Pat Toomey's office says it was contact by Ross Township about a possible fraudulent claim filed by Newell. 

Toomey's office says it forwarded the township's concerns to FEMA.

Newell's father says his son was granted FEMA funds.