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Witnesses to fatal shooting in Ross Twp. coping with pain and grief

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 06 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 08 2013 02:10:06 PM CDT

Witnesses coping with pain and grief

ROSS TWP., Pa. -

Those who witnessed and survived Monday night's deadly shooting at a municipal building in Monroe County are still in shock.

Sixty-eight-year old Truman Burnett, a township employee who was at the meeting where the shooting took place, shared with 69 News what he saw.

"He shot through the windows, through the dry wall, where people were sitting in the conference room having the meeting," Burnett said.

At the same time, neighbor Dave LaBar had no idea what was unfolding in the municipal building right across from his house.

"I was in my barn listening to music, I had headphones on and I started to hear this popping sound and I though somebody was setting fireworks off," LaBar said.

LaBar says after his wife alerted him that something was wrong, he approached the building.

"It was a nightmare, it was horrible," said LaBar.

LaBar proceeded to help a woman give CPR to one of the victims and comforted another until paramedics arrived.

In the meantime, Burnett had managed to escape.

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

But others weren't as lucky.

Police say 59-year-old Rockne Newell took three lives Monday night.

Three others were injured. However state police say it could've been much worse -- if it hadn't been for the actions of two men inside the meeting.

Township resident Mark Kresh and Bernard Kozen, director of the parks department.

"They are heroes in this whole incident, two very courageous individuals positioned themselves in a way that they were able to jump on this subject as he came through the door," said Lt. Col. George Bivens, state police.

Off camera, Kresh told 69 News: "I did what needed to be done. I had enough
of the shooting. My only thought was to protect my wife."

Those actions wound up protecting and saving others as well.

"Certainly if they had not done that he would have killed or injured other people," added Lt. Robert Bartal, state police.

Newell has been charged with criminal homicide, attempted criminal homicide, and aggravated assault.