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Slain couple had 'a positive energy between them,' victim's father says

July 28, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com
  • From left, Brandi N. (Killingsworth) Cleeves, Leia Cleeves and Vincent Luke Santucci. Brandi Cleeves and Santucci were fatally shot Friday night in Quincy Township, Pa.
Submitted photo

Like his mother, it was in Vincent Luke Santucci Jr.’s nature to help people.

Santucci, who along with his mother and girlfriend were fatally shot Friday night in Quincy Township, Pa., was “the big brother” to two older sisters and a younger brother, and took care of his mother, too, his father, Vincent L. Santucci Sr., said Saturday evening.

“He was a kind person, loving son and brother,” Santucci said.

As a chef in Chambersburg, Pa., for several years, Santucci said his son, to whom he referred as Luke, took “pleasure and pride” in preparing food that patrons would enjoy.

Santucci said his son had only known Brandi N. (Killingsworth) Cleeves for little more than a month, but sensed they had had a lot of fun together.

There was a positive energy between them, Santucci said.

“It’s just a total shock,” Santucci said of their deaths.

Santucci said his former wife, Rosemary L. Holma, to whom he was married for nearly 18 years, was a wonderful mother to their four children and supported him in his ventures across the United States in various roles with the National Park Service.

Santucci said Holma put herself through nursing school and found her calling as a nurse. She worked in Chambersburg and her son lived with her in Quincy, Pa., he said. 

“We think she died running to help her son,” said Santucci, referring to the circumstances surrounding the fatal shootings.

Santucci said his son enjoyed the outdoors and traveling, recalling a trip to Europe with his sons a few years ago to visit World War II sites.

Santucci said his oldest son was born and raised in Pittsburgh, where he said they were big Pittsburgh Pirates fans.

Santucci also fondly recalled his son’s heroic days on the West Yellowstone Middle School football team. He was the fullback and had about a 25-pound weight advantage over most players.

“It took seven or eight opposing players to stop him,” Santucci recalled. “It was great to see.”

Santucci said his son graduated from Northgate High School in Pittsburgh.

He said funeral arrangements were not finalized as of Saturday night.

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