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Waynesboro man faces three counts of homicide in Quincy Township shooting

July 28, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Kevin Cleeves
Pennsylvania State Police

MONT ALTO, Pa. — A man accused of fatally shooting three people in Quincy Township, Pa., at about 9 p.m. Friday has been arrested and charged with three counts of criminal homicide.

Police in Mahoning County, Ohio, apprehended Kevin M. Cleeves, 35, early Saturday after he allegedly fled the homicide scene with his 4-year-old daughter, Leia. She was found unharmed.

Charging documents allege Kevin Cleeves, of 601 W. Main St., Apt. 2, in Waynesboro, Pa., killed Brandi N. (Killingsworth) Cleeves, Vincent Luke Santucci and Rosemary L. Holma, then tried to take the child to his aunt’s house in Michigan.

Kevin Cleeves was scheduled for an extradition hearing Monday morning in Ohio, Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Adam Reed said.

Leia remained in a “safe location” in Ohio on Saturday evening, Reed said.

Franklin County (Pa.) Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner said autopsies will be performed Monday in Allentown, Pa., for Holma, 55, of Waynesboro; her son, Santucci, 28, of Waynesboro; and Brandi Cleeves, 25, of Boonsboro. He said all three victims suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

Brandi Cleeves has been described as Kevin Cleeves’ wife, Santucci’s girlfriend and Leia Cleeves’ mother in court documents and a news release from the coroner’s office.

In an affidavit of probable cause filed with the criminal charges, Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Aaron Martin writes that authorities were called Friday night to 7705 Anthony Highway (Pa. 997) for a report of shots fired. A corporal arrived on the scene and confirmed the three fatalities.

At 11:05 p.m. Friday, Michigan State Police contacted Pennsylvania State Police to say Kevin Cleeves called family in Eaton Rapids, Mich., and admitted to the shootings. Pennsylvania State Police interviewed Kevin Cleeves’ aunt, who said that her nephew was “drinking and mad,” the affidavit states.

Kevin Cleeves allegedly told his aunt that he went to Santucci’s house to get his daughter, but Santucci told him Leia was his daughter and told Kevin Cleeves to get off his property, the affidavit states.

“Cleeves told (his aunt) that he shot Santucci. Then, Brandi Cleeves jumped out of the vehicle, and he shot her, too,” Martin writes in the affidavit, which was filed in Magisterial District Judge Larry Pentz’s office.

Santucci’s mother, Holma, was shot when she ran out of the house, the affidavit states.

Kevin Cleeves allegedly called Pennsylvania State Police at about 12:15 a.m. Saturday. Martin writes in the affidavit that he told them he “messed up.”

Kevin Cleeves said he had been trying to make arrangements to pick up his daughter, but Brandi Cleeves would not answer his phone calls or messages, the affidavit states.

Reed said he was unsure who had legal custody of Leia prior to the incident.

Santucci, Brandi Cleeves and Leia Cleeves were in a car when Kevin Cleeves arrived at the Anthony Highway property near Saddle Up Ministries, the affidavit states.

Santucci was shot in the car, and Brandi Cleeves was shot when she jumped out of the car, the affidavit states.

Police issued an Amber Alert for Leia Cleeves overnight, saying her father was armed, dangerous and suicidal. They searched Kevin Cleeves’ duplex at about 6 a.m. Saturday.

Leroy Price, who lives across the street from the driveway where the shooting occurred, said Santucci and Holma moved into their brick home recently. He said he did not know the victims, nor did the neighbors with whom he spoke.

Price said the shootings did not necessarily surprise him because there are stories of similar acts every day across the country.

“It could’ve happened anywhere,” he said.

Police with about 20 cruisers took measurements and pictures until about 5 a.m., Price said. At one point, they spotted a man in the woods, scattered and ordered everyone into their homes before determining he was not involved, he said.

Pa. 997 was closed for several hours overnight. Some residents told reporters they were not allowed past blockades to return to their homes during that time.

Price took the disorder in stride as media from across central Pennsylvania and Washington County, Md., descended on the community he described as quiet.

“Even though it’s a small area, things still happen,” he said.

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