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MASONTOWN, Pa. (KDKA) — A sign on the door of the Masontown Municipal Building on Wednesday night read: “District Court shall be closed and will remain closed until further Order of Court.” Inside, pieces of glass still lie on the floor of the lobby and bullet holes can be seen in the drywall.
Sources said Patrick Dowdell, 61, walked into the lobby of the municipal building armed with a handgun around 2 p.m. and began firing shots.
“At that time, the court was in session for preliminary hearings and other types of matters. At that time, there was approximately 30-40 cases were scheduled for hearings today,” said Fayette County District Attorney Richard Bower.
Officials said two police officers ran towards the gunfire.
Brenda Waters’ Report:
“As a result of the shootings, a German Township police officer made his way to the lobby. He shot the actor multiple times, and the actor ended up being killed,” said Bower.
Masontown Police Sgt. R. Scott Miller ended up getting shot in the hand, but is expected to be okay.
Two men and a woman, who sources believe to be Dowdell’s wife, Crystal, were also shot. They were taken to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries. Sources believe Dowdell was targeting his wife, not magistrate Judge Dan Shimshock or his staff.
Court dockets show that Dowdell had a preliminary hearing scheduled for Wednesday on domestic charges of strangulation, aggravated assault and terroristic threats stemming from an alleged incident that took place at the end of last month.
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Sources say Crystal had filed a PFA against her husband.
“From what I heard from my neighbor is that she wanted a divorce, and that’s when he pulled a belt out from around his waist and strangled her around the neck,” said neighbor Rebecca Clark.
KDKA’s Amy Wadas: “Did she fear for her life?”
Neighbor Susan Davis: “I think she did that day from what she told me. Got him to calm down and take a bath, and that’s when she took off and called the cops on him.”
Neighbors said the shooting comes as a surprise because they never heard the couple fight and they never saw police at their home.
All patients taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia, have been released.
State police urge the public to come forward with any information they might have. You can call the Uniontown barracks at (724)-439-7111.