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D.A.: Shooter dead after killing his parents at Chester County retirement community

Bruce Rogal, 59, was considered "armed and extremely dangerous," said Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan.

Police block the road at the Paoli Pike on North Chester Road September 19, 2018 as a police response is underway in East Goshen Township as they search for a man suspected of a shooting at a the Bellingham Retirement Community on Boot Road.
Police block the road at the Paoli Pike on North Chester Road September 19, 2018 as a police response is underway in East Goshen Township as they search for a man suspected of a shooting at a the Bellingham Retirement Community on Boot Road.Read moreTOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

A man who allegedly fired six shots at his newly divorced wife before killing his parents in a Chester County retirement community Wednesday evening is dead after an hours long manhunt for him ended early Thursday on the same street where the first shooting took place.

Police said Bruce Rogal was pronounced dead after crashing his Honda minivan into his ex-spouse's house and exchanging gunfire with pursuing state troopers.

It is not yet clear if Rogal, 59, of Glenmoore, killed himself or was fatally wounded by police.

State Police Trooper James Spencer said troopers looking for Rogal after the two shootings Wednesday spotted his minivan about 1 a.m. Thursday, setting off a pursuit by air and ground that ended with the crash.

Rogal's spree was set off by an order he received earlier that day finalizing his divorce, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said at a news conference Wednesday night.

Enraged, Rogal drove to his ex-wife's home in West Bradford Township around 5:30 p.m. and fired a gun in her direction as she was changing the oil in her car, Hogan said. Rogal fired six rounds, none of which hit her, and drove off, Hogan said. Her name was being withheld by police.

From there, Rogal drove to Park Lane at Bellingham, the East Goshen Township retirement community at 1615 E. Boot Rd. where his parents lived, Hogan said. Around 6:15 p.m., he shot and killed his parents, William and Nancy, who were in their late 80s, while they were in their apartment.

After police responded to an "active shooter" scene, the complex was put on lockdown, and residents and employees were ordered to shelter in place. Many nearby streets were closed off as officers started an intense search for Rogal. Around 10 p.m., residents at Park Lane were allowed back into their homes.

After shooting his parents, Rogal fled in a 2002 silver Honda Odyssey with Pennsylvania plate ENN-3549, triggering a manhunt that extended into neighboring counties and states.

In a Facebook post early Thursday morning, Hogan reported Rogal was dead and praised police and emergency personnel who participated in the response.

Bruce Rogal is dead. There is no ongoing threat in Chester County. All law enforcement personnel involved are unhurt. …

Posted by Thomas Hogan on Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Wednesday's violence began at the Sawmill Estates development in West Bradford Township, where Rogal allegedly chased his ex-wife down Vermont Lane, firing off rounds indiscriminately, residents said.

Around 11 p.m., as the manhunt unfolded, the black Subaru Impreza that Rogal's ex-wife had been working on still sat out front of her home. The shades at the home were drawn and the lights extinguished.

Hours later, officials said, Rogal returned to the neighborhood with state police in pursuit, crashing his car into his ex-wife's house before ending up dead.

On Thursday morning, a West Bradford Fire Company utility truck guarded the entrance to the Sawmill Estates, where about 10 marked and unmarked police vehicles could be seen.

Neighbor Bob MacDonald said his teenage daughter had been on the phone when she heard gunshots. MacDonald said she fled out their home's back door and ran to the side of house, watching, in silence as Rogal's ex-wife ran by.

He was close behind, holding what looked like a rifle with a shortened barrel, MacDonald said, according to his daughter's account.

Rogal's ex-wife ran into a neighbor's house, where she hid until Rogal drove away.

"If he would've looked at my daughter, she could've been shot," MacDonald said, shaken after hearing his daughter recount the story to a state trooper. "I just thank the Lord she's OK and that I can hold her."

James Oley saw a similar scene unfold from his home, across the street from the MacDonalds.

He heard what he thought was gunfire about 5:30 p.m., after a long afternoon of re-tarring his driveway.

"But I thought, 'That doesn't happen around here,' " Oley said hours later on his front porch. "Then I heard a woman screaming."

Oley raced outside in time to see Rogal walking on the road in front of his house. He seemed unsteady on his feet, limping as he moved slowly forward, Oley said.

He clutched a gun in his hands, stuffing it into his waistband as he turned around and walked back to his car several yards away.

Oley noted Rogal stumbled and fell on his back as he tried to climb into the vehicle.

“We were just fortunate that no one on our street got hurt,” Oley said. “You never think this will happen to you until it does.”