Motive in Town Meeting Shooting: This Shack
Police say Rockne Newell had been in long-running fight with township
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2013 6:53 AM CDT
A Pennsylvania State Police Trooper guards the dilapidated home of alleged shooter 59-year-old Rockne Newell, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 in Saylorsburg, Pa.   (AP Photo/Chris Post)

(Newser) – The gunman in last night's deadly town meeting shooting in Pennsylvania has been IDed by police as Rockne Newell. It's a well-known name to local officials, who the Pocono Record reports have been embroiled in a "long-simmering feud" with Newell over his junk-strewn property for some 18 years. The paper cites its previous articles as background: human feces were found on Newell's land in 2009; he built a "dwelling" on the land without getting the proper permits from the township; railroad ties and trash litter his yard; and township supervisors in February 2012 voted to take legal action against Newell for violating zoning and sewer regulations.

He was ordered to vacate in August 2012, and had reportedly been living in his car and in vacant buildings since. Newell himself complained to the Record in June, saying, "If I lose this property, I have nowhere else to go. What they're doing to me, what they've been doing to me for so long, it's wrong." The AP adds that Newell told officials the $600 monthly Social Security payments that sustained him couldn't pay to clean his property, which is located just a short drive from the Ross Township municipal meeting where he allegedly opened fire, killing three. Witnesses say Newell emptied his gun before returning to his car to get a second weapon; they say he was ultimately tackled and shot in the leg with his own gun.

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Showing 3 of 37 comments
Aug 7, 2013 2:18 AM CDT
Rockne Newell suffers from pathological hoarding or disposophobia. All this in 18 years and not one one public official could have seen this developing. Instead of working with people, you will find code enforcement bureaucrats to be hubris and afflicted by narcissistic mental attitude of supremacy and without the regular population's empathy for it's citizens. On occasions, we in the neighborhood have always have pitched in to help someone, almost always elderly to remedy a problem and in all cases the government official has been an impeding constituent part. If someone is problem, and in this case maybe the person has a mental illness, taking of someones property is not the answer. In cases that involve a normal persons mental situation, most are taken in as a "5150" and observed for medical observation. Their property is not confiscated, they are helped. Even in most homeless situations, their property is not taken. in any case, HIS GUN WOULD HAVE TAKEN. He falls under the restrictions of not being of sound mind to having one. I have written this for our readers, not the screwed up bureaucRATS we deal with. The acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value. Living spaces sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were designed .Significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding .Reluctance or inability to return borrowed items; as boundaries blur, impulsive acquisitiveness could sometimes lead to stealing or kleptomania. According to Sanjaya Saxena, MD, director of the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Program at the University of California, San Diego, compulsive hoarding in its worst forms can cause fires, unclean conditions (e.g. rat and roach infestations), injuries from tripping on clutter, and other health and safety hazards. All this in 18 years and not one one publick offiicial could have seen this devoloping
Aug 6, 2013 3:32 PM CDT
When are anti-gun nuts going to get a clue that since mentally ill kooks and criminals have no problem getting guns, EVERYONE should be carrying a gun to protect themselves! We clearly need to go back to the Wild West days! And then, as soon as a wannabe mass murderer pulls out a gun, his intended victims can whip out their guns and start blasting away at his dumb ass. That way, if he's too insane to be deterred by all of his targets being armed, he'll only get off a couple of shots before he's taken down.
Aug 6, 2013 2:29 PM CDT
You just can't do such a thing. Consideration of others is beyond this guy. He will now be forced to consider others for the remainder of his life. He is mential twisted.