ASHVILLE, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – A woman and an accomplice went to her family’s home and killed her mother and brother before they were shot to death by her father in Cambria County, state police said Saturday.
The police report says the woman and other intruder got into the home on Bottom Road in Allegheny Township around 11 p.m. Friday night, shooting and killing her mother and adult brother with a sawed-off shotgun.
Investigators said the father found his wife and son fatally shot, then in turn shot the two intruders in self-defense. The father, identified by a relative as John Frew, was not injured.
The relative, Virginia Cruse, said the victims included her 64-year-old sister Roberta Frew and the couple’s 47-year-old son. She identified the slain assailants as Frew’s daughter, Josephine, and her husband, Jeff Ruckinger.
“Roberta answered the door,” said Trooper John Matchik, of Pennsylvania State Police. “We believe that she cried out something to the effect of, ‘Oh my God, they have guns.’ At this time, gunfire erupted.”
Ruckinger was found dead at the scene, the daughter Josephine was transported to the Altoona UPMC Trauma Center and later pronounced dead. Both were shot in the head.
“All I can really say at this point is that it appears to be a family-related incident,” Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan told CBS affiliate station WTAJ. “A husband and wife and son were at the home and we believe that the daughter and another actor appeared here and there was an altercation that occurred and there was some shooting and a lot of these individuals are now deceased.”
Police say Josephine Ruckinger shot her mother and Ruckinger’s husband shot her brother.
Cruse said the daughter and mother did not get along, but that she had no idea what spawned Friday’s tragedy.
The daughter had “a hatred toward the family,” she said.
When Josephine was about 20, she and a boyfriend trashed her parents’ home and stole items including a pistol, then fled to Pittsburgh, Cruse said. After that, she said, “more or less, they disowned her.”
Jeff Ruckinger worked for a tire repair company and Josephine had disabilities that prevented her from working, Cruse said.
Police continue to investigate.
Stay with KDKA for more information.
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