HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – State police continue to investigate after three people were found dead Wednesday in an apparent double murder-suicide at a Westmoreland County apartment complex.
The gunfire first rang out around 7 a.m.
“I heard three shots first, a female screaming, and then I heard three to four more,” said Alicia Hatfield, who called 911 after the shooting.
A trained EMT, Hatfield’s instinct to help kicked in when she ran to the parking lot outside of Building F of the Hempfield Heights apartment complex on West Hills Drive in Hempfield Township.
“I saw several gunshot wounds to both victims,” Hatfield said.
KDKA’s Christine D’Antonio Reports:
Hatfield says she tried to resuscitate the man and woman, but it was too late. She called 911 and when police arrived on scene, they ordered her and all other tenants back inside their homes as the search for the shooter began.
The normally quiet community was left scared and shocked.
“I heard one shot at seven o’clock in the morning,” said Trista Baughman, a resident of the apartment. “I look out my window, the body is 20 feet away from my door and there is another one as well.”
The Westmoreland County Prison Warden identifies the female victim as 23-year-old Christina Marie White. He says she was a part-time corrections officer who started in August.
KDKA’s Ross Guidotti Reports:
After arriving on the scene, state police went door to door, telling residents to stay inside while the SWAT team took up positions around the complex.
“[Police] told everyone in there don’t leave at all,” a witness said.
By late morning, police had identified the suspected shooter inside one of the apartments.
Using a bullhorn, negotiators spent the better part of the day trying to convince the suspect to surrender.
At 2:30 p.m., once inside, they discovered the body of the suspected gunman dead from a suspected gunshot wound.
“Upon arrival to the scene, we discovered there were two individuals, a male and a female, who were deceased outside of a residence, one of the apartment complexes,” said Trooper Steve Limani, of Pennsylvania State Police. “We started an active investigation to look for the person that was the perpetrator in this particular case. We focused on one of the apartments, and subsequently, after several hours, were able to breach that apartment. And when we went inside, we found an individual deceased in there, which appears to be a self-inflicted type of gunshot wound.”
KDKA’s Ross Guidotti Reports:
Sources tell KDKA the deadly shooting may have been the result of a long standing dispute between the victims and the suspected gunman.
“No reason is worth what happened here today,” said Trooper Limani. “We lost the lives of two individuals. It’s horrible, it’s a tragedy and it’s a shame, and we’re trying to help the families involved. It’s a tragic incident.”
Police have not yet released the names of the male victim or suspected gunman.
It’s believe White and the male victim may have at one time been boyfriend and girlfriend.
They lived in the apartment below the suspected gunman.
A news conference has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday morning.