Police: Former Pa. police officer, fire chief killed wife, wounded stepson before taking own life

January 23, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Police are pictured outside a home on Mar Penn Avenue in Rouzerville, Pa., where a former police officer and Blue Ridge fire chief and his wife were found dead Tuesday evening in an apparent murder-suicide.
By Jennifer Fitch/Reporter

ROUZERVILLE, Pa. — A former police officer and fire chief fatally shot his wife and wounded his stepson Tuesday evening before killing himself in a home east of Waynesboro, Pa., Pennsylvania State Police said Wednesday.

John Fleagle, 50, fatally shot his wife, Cathy, and himself with a handgun, police said in a news release.

Fleagle also shot his stepson, 18-year-old Mitchell Robinson, in the arm, police said. No information was available regarding his condition.

Law enforcement authorities said they were called to a home at 13878 Mar Penn Ave. near the intersection with Edgewood Drive shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The white house on a wooded lot is in a residential development off Old Pen Mar Road near the Maryland state line. Police said the shootings occurred in an apartment within the home.

Because the Fleagles had an affiliation with the Washington Township Police Department, state police took over the investigation, according to the state police news release.


Cathy Fleagle, 45, was the Washington Township Police Department’s office administrator. She handled records, managed computerized systems and wrote news releases.

John Fleagle, a former Blue Ridge Fire Department chief, joined the township police department on a part-time basis in 1993. He then worked as a full-time officer from 1995 to 1999, Washington Township Manager Mike Christopher said.

More recently, John Fleagle was an officer with the Borough of Waynesboro’s police department for about 11 months between 2008 and 2009, according to Waynesboro Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger.

John Fleagle also previously worked at Lowe’s in Rouzerville.

The couple owned Bare Bones BBQ, a seasonal food truck that sold ribs, pork and beef. On the business’ Facebook page, they shared plans to start operating from a new location where people could gather around a fire ring and eat at picnic tables.

Christopher said the township’s staff, including its police officers, were reeling in the wake of the murder-suicide.

“This whole place is hurting right now,” he said Wednesday afternoon.

Cathy Fleagle started working for the municipality in 1994 but took time off when her first husband died, Christopher said. She rejoined the staff in 1995, he said.

Christopher said Cathy Fleagle, who graduated from Williamsport (Md.) High School in 1985, had a big smile on her face Monday because of the Baltimore Ravens’ weekend win. She often donned a jersey before games.

He described her as pleasant and a good worker.

“We’re still stunned by the severity of the situation, the permanency of the situation,” Christopher said, saying co-workers were all asking “why” as they tried to process what happened.

“This is just so messed up,” said Brian Sease, one of the Fleagles’ neighbors.

Sease said John Fleagle was a “super nice guy” with whom he would chat occasionally about the neighborhood.

“I just saw John over the weekend,” said Sease, who is a Herald-Mail employee. Fleagle was driving up the street Sunday and Sease waved at him, Sease said.

When Fleagle was fire chief at Blue Ridge, he parked a firetruck on the street one day and let the neighborhood kids climb inside, Sease said.

Perhaps the state police can come up with some answers, Christopher said.

State police were aided in their investigation by specialized forensics officers. Officials with the Franklin County (Pa.) Coroner’s Office were also on the scene, but they did not release any information about the shooting.

Staff writer Julie Greene contributed to this story

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