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Two men dead in Pa. shootings

May 25, 2007|by DON AINES

SHIPPENSBURG, PA. - Two men died and a woman was wounded in a murder-suicide that began with an argument in a Shippensburg bar Thursday morning and ended that afternoon with Pennsylvania State Police finding the suspected shooter dead inside a North Washington Street apartment after a standoff that lasted seven hours or more.

Franklin County Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner identified one victim as Robert Traylor, 21, of Fogelsanger Road, Shippensburg. He was pronounced dead of gunshot wounds at the scene at 2:46 a.m. "lying beside the vehicle in which he was a passenger," Conner said.

Jennifer Todd, 21, no address given, was identified by Pennsylvania State Police as the woman who was shot. Trooper Karl Schmidhamer said she was taken to Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center, but a hospital spokeswoman Thursday night said that no one by that name was listed as a patient.

Police said the suspected killer, Steven David B'Sedek, 37, of 25 N. Washington St., was found in the apartment, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Cumberland County Chief Deputy Coroner Todd Eckenrode said he pronounced B'Sedek dead.

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Two other people who were in the same car as Traylor and Todd, Bradley Rine and Robin Krugh, escaped without injury. Police did not give ages or addresses for them.

Another man whom police did not identify was in the North Washington Street apartment with B'Sedek. The man, whom police said was in B'Sedek's vehicle when the shooting happened, surrendered to police and was led away at about 9:30 a.m. He was still being questioned by state police at the Shippensburg Police Department at 4:30 p.m.

"It's my understanding that the person who is suspected of having fired the weapon took his own life in his residence," Franklin County District Attorney John F. Nelson said. "As far as the person who was with that individual, the investigation is ongoing as to his involvement, if any."

Police said Thursday night the man had not been charged and was not considered a suspect at that time.

The incident began at about 2 a.m. at the Hot Point Inn, 100 Hot Point Ave., Schmidhamer said. A woman inside the inn Thursday afternoon said employees were not allowed to comment on what happened that morning.

B'Sedek got into an argument inside the bar with some or all of the four victims and it spilled over into the parking lot, police said. Traylor, Todd, Rine and Krugh left the bar in a car, with B'Sedek following close behind in what Schmidhamer said was a dark sport utility vehicle.

A few hundred yards away, the vehicles pulled into a gravel parking lot, which Conner said was in the 600 block of Avon Drive, across the road from Shippensburg's waste water treatment plant.

The argument continued, escalating into a shooting, police said. B'Sedek and the other man in his vehicle left and the investigation led police to the apartment house.

Several witnesses said they knew the man who surrendered and that he lived in a first-floor apartment of 25 N. Washington St.

"He came out on the steps and he got down on his knees willingly," said Michelle Mackey of 14 N. Washington St. "He wasn't the kind of guy you'd expect to get in trouble."

Mike Reasner, also of 14 N. Washington St., said he talked Wednesday night with the man who surrendered. He said they spoke outside the Shippensburg Wal-Mart where the man worked.

Reasner said he also knew Traylor.

"He was a year ahead of me in high school ... I played a year or two of football with him," Reasner said of Traylor.

Police surrounded the house Thursday morning and evacuated the other apartments along with adjacent houses and blocked off the area.

"I walked out at about 6 a.m. and it looked like a riot zone," Scott Thomas, who lives in a first floor apartment of the building, said of the police outside. "They asked me who I was and if I had identification" before letting him leave, the former Chambersburg Borough councilman said.

Jack McShane said he also left his apartment in the building at about 6 a.m. and was confronted by police before being allowed to go.

"I was scared," McShane said.

Police were in contact with B'Sedek in the apartment from about 8 a.m., but "We'd lost phone contact with him around 12:30 to 1 p.m.," Schmidhamer said.

A state police Special Emergency Response Team of 20 or more troopers assembled in the parking lot of McDonald's about a block away from North Washington Street. Shortly after 1 p.m., witnesses reported hearing what sounded like gunfire coming from the house.

"It sounded like a series of six shots and then another series of six," said Scott Cross, also of 14 N. Washington St.

"I would say they were gunshots," said Curt Rine, a contractor who was at a nearby house on East King Street. He thought he heard more than 20 shots.

Schmidhamer said police fired no shots during the standoff.

Members of the team entered the apartment house at about 1:30 p.m., after firing tear gas shells inside, and found B'Sedek's body.

A woman who said she was Traylor's sister answered the phone at the Fogelsanger Road address. She said he had gone to Shippensburg High School and was planning to attend a technical school in two weeks. She then broke down crying and someone hung up the phone.

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