A man wearing a ballistic vest and carrying multiple weapons, including an assault rifle, appeared to have shot himself following an early-morning massacre Sunday that left four people dead and a fifth injured in a rural hamlet in Fayette County.
The shooting happened just before 3 a.m. in the parking lot of Ed's Car Wash on Route 711, also known as Indian Creek Valley Road, in the county in southwestern Pennsylvania, adjacent to Maryland and West Virginia.
The four victims who were pronounced dead at the scene were Chelsie Cline, Courtney Snyder, Seth Cline, and Will Porterfield. At a news conference later Sunday, state police said Porterfield, 27, and Chelsie Cline, 25, arrived in a Dodge Stratus, exited the vehicle, and were shot dead by Tim Smith, who was armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, a .308-caliber rifle, and a 9mm handgun. Authorities said Smith had multiple magazines for the AR-15 and 9mm guns. They said the .308 rifle was not used in the attack.
Courtney Snyder, 23, Seth Cline, 21, and Sammi Snyder were parked at the scene in a green Chevy Silverado pickup truck. Authorities said Smith fired at that vehicle and killed Courtney Snyder, who was driving, and Cline, who was in the front passenger seat. Sammi Snyder, who investigators said is in her early 20s, was in the backseat of the pickup and hid during the shooting. She was injured only by broken glass.
It was unclear why the group had gathered at the car wash.
As of late Sunday afternoon, police had not discussed the motive for the shootings. But family members at the homicide scene along Route 711 in Saltlick, just outside Melcroft, said authorities had been more forthcoming with them privately.
Jenna Porterfield, 24, of Connellsville, who was married to Porterfield and is pregnant with his child, was open about her conversation with police.
"I was told my husband was cheating on me with [one of the victims], and that she had broken up with her previous boyfriend two days ago, and he went crazy and shot them all," she said.
Two of the victims — Chelsie Cline and Seth Cline — were half-siblings. Police described Chelsie Cline as Porterfield's "companion." Jenna Porterfield said police identified the gunman to her as Tim Smith, a jealous former boyfriend of Chelsie Cline's.
"We're all from around here. We all know each other," Porterfield said of the victims.
Porterfield also said police told her that Smith shot himself in the head after killing the others. Smith survived the shooting and was hospitalized in critical condition.
Investigators said Smith was wearing a body armor vest, but "without the the ballistic panels inserted."
Investigators said there is a "possibility" that Smith's wound was self-inflicted, but added "that determination has not been made."
Porterfield said she and her husband married in November and had been "having some troubles" this month.
She said she was told by family members of the other victims' that her husband had spent the last two days with Chelsie Cline, who had ended her relationship with Smith a couple of days earlier.
"I'm not holding that against Will. We weren't fighting. We were fixing. And if he was with someone else while we were having problems, honestly, I don't care what he did. I'm not going to hold that against him," she said. "I'd give anything to have him back."
She said the couple had blended a family: her three children with his two, and they were expecting a child of their own.
She said Chelsie Cline had a child, as did Courtney Snyder.
Porterfield said she was numb and in shock and wondered whether anyone could have seen this coming. She referenced a Facebook post on Jan. 24 from Chelsie Cline that noted: "After this week, I rlly need to get taken out…on a date or by a sniper either one is fine w me at this point."