Friday, December 21, 2012

Pa. police kill gunman who murdered 3 near Altoona
One victim was shot dead as she decorated for a children's Christmas party at her church.
Michael Winter, USA TODAY7:46p.m. EST December 21, 2012

Emergency responders block Juniata Valley Road on Friday in Geeseytown, Pa.
(Photo: Keith Srakocic AP)

Pennsylvania state troopers shot dead a man who fled in a pickup after killing three people Friday morning near Altoona, including a woman decorating for a children's Christmas party at her church, according to authorities and news reports. Three troopers were hurt.

Police have not yet identified a motive.

The woman was slain about 9 a.m. at Juniata Valley Gospel Church in Geeseytown, near Hollidaysburg, in central Pennsylvania, The Altoona Mirror says. The gunman first fired through the church hall's windows, then entered and killed the woman as she and another woman decorated for a children's Christmas party, the Rev. James McCaulley told the Mirror. The second woman was not hurt.

The state police have not identified any of the victims or the gunman. McCaulley identified the dead woman as Kimberly A. Scott, 58, of Duncansville. Citing sources, theMirror also identifies the gunman as Jeffrey Lee Michael, 44, of Hollidaysburg. The paper initially reported his age as 26.

At a news conference, State Police Deputy Commissioner Lt. Col. George Bivens said the gunman then killed a man at a nearby residence. Fleeing, he later crashed head-on into another car and shot the driver dead. Farther down the road, the gunman crashed head-on into a trooper's car and began shooting when he got out. Three troopers returned fire, killing him, said state police spokeswoman Marla Finn.

One trooper was shot in his bulletproof vest and a wrist, a second was hurt in the crash and a third was cut by broken glass. All were treated at an Altoona hospital and released, Bivens said.

Police confiscated several weapons and were trying to determine who owned them and how they were obtained, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says.

A prayer service and vigil are scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at the Geeseytown Lutheran Church.

The 150-member Juniata Valley Gospel Church had just lost its pastor of 58 years, the Rev. David McCaulley, and his brother had presided at the funeral Thursday. James McCaulley, a pastor at another area church, told the Associated Press that Scott, one of the congregation's most active members, had made food for him to take home after the service.

"The only thing I can say good at this time is that [the gunman] didn't do this 24 hours earlier when there was a big crowd in the church hall," McCaulley said. "We're devastated."

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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