HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. - A man fatally shot a woman decorating for a children's Christmas party at a tiny church hall and killed two men elsewhere in a central Pennsylvania township Friday before he was fatally shot in a gunfight with state troopers.
The shootings began about 9 a.m. in Frankstown Township, and investigators were processing five crime scenes within about a 11/2-mile radius, authorities said at a news briefing Friday afternoon. The troopers were responding to a 911 call of a shooting in the township when they heard calls reporting at least one other shooting elsewhere, state police spokeswoman Maria Finn said.
Family members of the victims said they were told the woman at the church was the first victim shot, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. The gunman then shot two men in the driveway of a home after a confrontation at a stop sign, Marie Brenneman told the paper, identifying herself as a cousin of one of the male victims.
"This person went to their driveway with a pistol, pointed at them, and started shooting," Brenneman said. She said both male victims were the shooter's neighbors in the village of Geeseytown, about 70 miles west of Harrisburg.
The woman at Juniata Valley Gospel Church had cooked food the day before for the funeral of the longtime pastor, said the Rev. James McCaulley, his brother. The central Pennsylvania church was still reeling from the Rev. David McCaulley's death when the woman returned to decorate the church hall - named after the pastor of 58 years - and bullets ripped through a window, he said.
The gunman then entered and shot one of two women before he left, James McCaulley said.
Two troopers driving to the scene of one shooting were fired upon by the driver of a pickup truck headed in the other direction, and the truck smashed head-on into a cruiser driven by a third trooper. The truck driver - believed to be the gunman who killed the other victims - exited the truck and immediately fired at the troopers, who returned fire and killed him, Finn said.
All three troopers were being treated at a hospital for injuries that Finn said were not life-threatening.