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Pa. man kills two, then himself

January 25, 2002

Pa. man kills two, then himself



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro


A woman and her grandmother were fatally shot and a visitor in their Fort Littleton, Pa., home was wounded Thursday morning by a man who Pennsylvania State Police said later took his own life.

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Police said Beth M. Fogal, 20, and her grandmother, Althea R. Hamilton, 78, were fatally shot at Hamilton's mobile home at 31988 Great Cove Road, where both had been living.

A man police identified as Thomas Blue, 31, of McConnellsburg, Pa., was wounded in the 6:20 a.m. shooting at the trailer. He was listed in fair condition at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, Pa., Thursday night. He was flown there from Fulton Medical Center.

The suspect in the shootings was pronounced dead at 4:19 p.m. in his mobile home on Forbes Train Road by Fulton County Medical Examiner Darryl E. Heckman.

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Neither Cpl. William Benson, head of criminal investigations at the state police barracks in McConnellsburg, nor Heckman would release the suspect's name Thursday.

People in the community who knew those involved identified him as Shawn Michael Watkins, 19, who had had a relationship with Fogal.

A state police SWAT team surrounded Watkins' home near Burnt Cabins, Pa., for several hours while they tried to contact him by telephone and bull horn, Benson said.

They fired tear gas into the home shortly before entering, he said.

When police went inside, they found Watkins dead from what police said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Benson said police had the weapon used in the shootings, but he would not identify it.

"We're not saying if it was a shotgun or a rifle," Benson said.

Autopsies on Fogal, Hamilton and Watkins were to be conducted this morning at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa., Benson said.

According to friends and neighbors of Watkins and Fogal, the two had been romantically involved since their days at Forbes Road High School and had a baby girl. Police did not release the child's name.

The girl was in Hamilton's trailer at the time of the shootings, and was not injured, neighbors said.

It could not be determined why Blue was in the trailer. Friends said Fogal and Blue had been seeing each other socially.

A manager at the BiLo grocery store in McConnellsburg said they both worked there.

Fogal's yearbook photo in the Forbes Road High School class of 2000 said she was "barely five feet tall," and was nicknamed "Foggie," and "Bethrd," by classmates. A quote in the book near Fogal's photo said, "Madly in love with Shawn."

In the yearbook for the Forbes Road High School class of 2001, Watkins' nickname was listed as "Big Daddy." His yearbook remarks said that he was "madly in love," and waiting to graduate.

A quote beside Watkins' photo listed as his favorite saying: "Don't make me come over there."

The Forbes Road School District is a small rural school where everyone knows everyone else, said James Heroux, principal of the high school.

"I knew them and they were both good kids," he said. "They were boyfriend and girlfriend."

"Being such a small school, students here have names, not numbers. I know them all and that's what makes things like this all the more hurtful," Heroux said.

There were 31 students in Fogal's graduating class and 35 in Watkins' class, Heroux said. Fogal took business courses and Watkins took building trades at Fulton County's vo-tech school, Heroux said.

The shootings came as a shock to residents in the rural areas of Fort Littleton, which is 10 miles north of McConnellsburg along U.S. 522, and nearby Hustontown.

"People have been coming in all day long and talking about it," said Shirley Tice, who owns Tice's General Store on Pa. 475 in Hustontown, the only store for miles around.

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