A gunman opened fire inside a Pennsylvania judge’s office this week, striking four people before dying in a police shootout.
Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Steve Dowlin said officers from German Township entered the Masontown Municipal Building in Fayette County just after 2 p.m. Wednesday, engaging the shooter in the lobby and killing him.
“I want to make it clear, without the rapid response of these brave officers to the shooting, more individuals may have been shot,” he said during a news conference Wednesday evening.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of mixed emotions when you’re involved in something that like that. Basically, I’m just glad that the officers are all okay,” said German Township Police Chief David Hromada. “It’s unfortunate that someone lost their life, but I’m proud of my officer and I think everyone did what they’re trained to do.”
KDKA identified the shooter as 61-year-old Patrick Dowdell. Fayette County District Attorney Richard Bowers confirmed the suspect shot two men, ages 35 and 47, and a 39-year-old woman in Magisterial District Judge Daniel Shimshock’s hearing room.
Masontown Police Sgt. R. Scott Miller chased the gunman into the building lobby, killing him, Bowers said. Miller suffered a gunshot wound to the hand and is expected to recover.
“The German Township police officer ran toward the danger, not away,” Bowers said. “He protected over 30 to 40 people from injury or death.”
Bowers confirmed the suspect — whom he refused to identify to reporters Wednesday — as the subject of a protection from abuse order against his wife for strangulation and other domestic violence charges. He told reporters the incident highlights a lack of security in district judge offices and courthouses he called “concerning.”
“The security is not always going to be sufficient, no matter what,” he said. “Even if you have a lot of security.”