FRANKSTOWN, Pa. — Residents in this central Pennsylvania community struggled to understand Friday why one of their own killed three people and injured three state troopers, who then shot and killed him.
State police said they were rushing to respond to a report about 9 a.m. that someone was firing shots in the area when they passed a white truck and the driver began shooting at them.
They said the man, whom neighbors identified as 44-year-old Jeffrey Michael, fired at the first cruiser, hitting a trooper in the wrist.
Bullets hit the second police car in the line, sending shards of glass and shrapnel into a trooper’s eye.
The two troopers turned around to continue their chase when Michael rammed into a third police car, turned around and fired at the first trooper’s chest, hitting his protective vest, investigators said.
The troopers returned fire and one of them killed Michael.
It wasn’t until after Michael was shot that police confirmed that he had killed three people.
Investigators said they still were trying to learn the motive and to piece together the order in which the shootings occurred.
A woman was killed while hanging Christmas decorations in Juniata Valley Gospel Church, less than a half mile from Michael’s single-story white home. Frankstown Supervisor George Henry identified her as Kimberly Scott.
At some point, Michael rammed his truck into another car and shot the driver, whom neighbors identified as William Rhodes.
Police said he also shot a man, whom neighbors identified as Mr. Rhodes’ father-in-law, Kenneth Lynn, at a home.
Crime scene tape surrounded Michael’s house Friday night.
Michael, a truck driver, sometimes aggravated neighbors by firing shots at early hours or setting off fireworks but otherwise didn’t seem to clash with many people, said neighbor Brian Davis.