manna, ralph - shoot spree 1/7

January 08, 1997



Staff Writers

WOLFSVILLE, Md. - Ralph Manna threatened "a war" days before Barbara Manna filed for divorce in September from a man she described as abusive, according to court records.

"Tell her (Barbara Manna) that she wanted everything peaceful, but she had to get nasty. If she wants a war, she's got one. I'll find out where she's at," Ralph Manna told his wife's friend, Linda Grossnickle, according to court records.


Late Monday night, shots were fired at three people, including two of Barbara Manna's closest friends. One of those people died and another was seriously injured in what police believe was a deadly rampage by a man angry over the breakup of his marriage.

Ralph Manna, of Loy Wolf Road in Frederick County, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in the death of one woman, the attempted murder of Grossnickle, and is a suspect in the shooting of a Waynesboro, Pa., man, according to Maryland State Police.

Linda Delauter, 53, of the 12000 block of Wolfsville Road in Frederick County, Md., was fatally wounded late Monday when she answered a knock on the door and was shot in the upper chest, said Maryland State Police Capt. Greg Shipley.

Grossnickle narrowly escaped injury when four shots were fired at her through the door when she went to open it, police said.

The shootings shocked a close-knit community located in a rural section of western Frederick County near the Washington County line.

The area is made up of farms with rolling fields along a tree-lined, winding section of Md. 17.

Grossnickle and Delauter were close friends of Barbara Manna's and the three attended the same church.

"It's a tragic, community loss that probably will never entirely pass," Grossnickle said Tuesday night.

According to witnesses and Washington Township Police, the rampage started Monday at the home of Richard and Candace Sanchez north of Waynesboro, Pa.

Washington Township Police Chief Kurt Braun said the suspect in the Sanchez shooting, identified as Ralph Manna, may have waited outside the house for some time before entering.

"It appears he spent a while in the driveway getting up his courage," Braun said.

An empty bottle of tequila was found in the driveway, he said.

Candace and Richard Sanchez were inside spending a peaceful evening by the fire.

"We were sitting in the basement on the couch by the fire," Candace Sanchez said Tuesday. "A gunshot blew out our sliding glass door."

Sanchez said she was shocked when she saw a man the couple recognized as a fellow pilot at Washington County Regional Airport enter through the shattered door. The man, armed with a handgun, approached Richard Sanchez and shot him four times, she said.

"He didn't say anything. He just started shooting," Candace Sanchez said of the man she described as acting drunk.

With her husband wounded, Candace Sanchez reached for the phone and started to call 911, but the intruder grabbed the phone out of her hand and slammed it to the ground.

After the shooting, Richard Sanchez went to the couple's second-floor bedroom to get his gun, she said. "I couldn't believe he made it up two flights of stairs," she said.

Candace Sanchez called 911 at 10:47 p.m., police said. When police and emergency workers arrived, they couldn't immediately enter the house to treat Sanchez.

"They couldn't come in because we thought he was still downstairs," she said.

"I heard noises, but that could have been our dogs. Our dogs were terrified when the gunshots went off," she said.

The couple waited several tense minutes while police made sure no one was inside the house. Ambulance crews then were allowed into the house, and Richard Sanchez was taken out of the house at 11:40 p.m.

Richard Sanchez was listed in serious condition Tuesday night in the intensive care unit of Washington County Hospital.

Shots through a door

From the Waynesboro area, Maryland State Police believe Manna went to Grossnickle's home on the 12600 block of Wolfsville Road, arriving shortly before 11 p.m.

Linda Grossnickle said she was home with her husband and two children when she heard a knock on the front door.

Before opening the door, she flipped on the front porch light and she saw Richard Manna, whom she had not seen in some time, Grossnickle said.

She was surprised to see him, she said. Then she noticed the handgun.

Two shots were fired through the door, Grossnickle said.

As Grossnickle ran into a nearby bedroom, two more shots were fired through the glass next to the door.

Grossnickle said she feared for her safety and for that of her family. She said she does not know how close the shots came to hitting her.

Grossnickle said she could hear an attempt being made to open the front door, but it was locked.

The gunman left and Maryland State Police believe he drove a short distance down Md. 17, also known as Wolfsville Road, to the 12000-block where Linda Delauter lived.

A third stop

Manna knocked on the door of the Delauter home, said the state police's Shipley.

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