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Waynesboro, Pa., man shoots girlfriend, kills self

January 18, 1998

Waynesboro, Pa., man shoots girlfriend, kills self

By LISA GRAYBEAL

Staff Writer, Chambersburg

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A Waynesboro, Pa., man fatally shot himself after shooting his girlfriend in the face Sunday morning in the first floor Cleveland Avenue apartment they had shared, victims of an attempted murder-suicide, according to Waynesboro Police.

Jessica Baker, 25, of 315 Cleveland Avenue, was taken to Waynesboro Hospital and then flown to Hershey Medical Center after the 8:43 a.m. shooting, where she remained in the intensive care unit Sunday night, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Waynesboro Police Chief Glen Phenicie, in a telephone interview from his home, said Baker was shot once in the face and neck area with some kind of a deer rifle.

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Waynesboro Police Officer Stuart Hannah, first to arrive at the scene, saw Baker get shot and then dragged her out of the bedroom window after she yelled that her boyfriend had shot himself, Phenicie said.

Her boyfriend, Gordon S. Howell, 27, who lived with Baker at the Cleveland Avenue apartment, though he also had an address at 207 Main St., Mont Alto, Pa., shot himself in the head, Phenicie said.

He was pronounced dead at 9:20 a.m. by Franklin County Chief Deputy Coroner Jeffrey Conner.

Another woman with Baker was not injured, Phenicie said.

Baker's young daughter was apparently staying with relatives for the weekend and was not in the home at the time of the shooting, he said.

The couple apparently had been living together for about a year but Baker wanted Howell to move out, Phenicie said.

The landlord of the two-story blue brick home, Carl Bottomley, who lives in the second floor apartment, got involved and asked Howell to leave Baker's apartment, telling him he didn't want to make it a police matter, according to Phenicie.

Howell apparently told Bottomley he was going to make it a police matter and went to his truck for the gun, Phenicie said.

Bottomley told Baker and her friend to run inside and lock the doors while he ran upstairs to his apartment and called 911, according to Phenicie.

Bottomley said Sunday night he didn't want to comment on the incident.

Baker and her friend locked the front door to the apartment and then locked themselves in the bedroom, but Howell forced his way in smashing both doors, even though he had a key to the home, Phenicie said.

"I heard the shots, but I thought it was a car backfiring," said Shirley Carty, who lives next door at 317 Cleveland Ave.

She said she knew the couple only enough to wave and say hello on several occasions.

"It's quite shocking and I'm a little upset about it," Carty said, who's lived in the neighborhood close to Fairview Elementary School since 1964.

She said she doesn't recall another violent incident like this since she's lived there.

"Last week's shooting was a shock, but when it's right next door to you it's really a shock," she said.

Last Monday, a Quincy Township, Pa., woman and man were found dead in the Mentzer Gap Road home they had shared, victims of a murder-suicide.

Shannon L. Shockey, 20, and Jay Wilbur Stouffer Jr., 30, had been involved in a brief relationship that Shockey ended over the weekend when she told Stouffer she was going back to Bernard McAfee, an ex-boyfriend, according to Shockey's relatives.

Stouffer became upset when Shockey went back to McAfee, they said.

Autopsies indicated that Stouffer shot Shockey twice then shot himself, police said.

It was McAfee who, when Shockey didn't show up for work Monday, went to her apartment, where he found the bodies.

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