Killer had more weapons at home
HOLLIDAYSBURG – State police at Hollidaysburg have filed a search warrant stating they confiscated a number of guns, ammunition, knives and a stun gun from the home of a Blair County man who killed three people in Frankstown Township just before Christmas.
Jeffrey Lee Michael, 44, of 107 Lower Reese Road, who was distraught and supposedly believed the world was coming to an end, went on a shooting spree Dec. 21 in a rural area in which he lived and killed two neighbors and a woman who was decorating a church along Juniata Valley Road for Christmas.
Michael eventually was killed in a shootout with state police.
After the early morning shootings, Trooper Terry L. Summers obtained a search warrant for the home where Michael lived with his 51-year-old girlfriend and her 19-year-old son.
That search yielded a Mossberg shotgun, a Carl Gustafs rifle, a Glock 23 pistol and a Marlin .22-caliber rifle.
Police found a stun gun, four pocket knives and ammunition at 14 different locations in the home.
Troopers also confiscated six laptop computers, a face mask and many other items from the home.
The warrant was filed late Tuesday afternoon in the Blair County Office of the Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts.
State police have been mum about the details of the shootings since the weekend before Christmas, but the affidavit attached to the search warrant talked about many aspects of what occurred.
Police learned of the shootings because of a telephone call from Rose M. Lynn, a neighbor of Michael.
Her husband, Kenneth D. Lynn, 60, and her son-in-law, William H. “Bill” Rhodes, Jr., 38, were among Michael’s victims.
The third victim, Kimberly Scott, 58, of Hollidaysburg was killed as she was decorating the Juniata Valley Church.
Police interviewed Michael’s girlfriend, who said Michael had lived at her home the past three years. He was separated from his wife.
The police affidavit stated, “She [the girlfriend] advised that Jeffrey Lee Michael was distraught believing that the world was coming to an end.”
Michael, she told police, had been involved in a fatal traffic accident in March 2012, and was “having a hard time dealing with that.”
The night before the shootings, Michael had two guns and was wearing one on his hip. She told police she took both guns from him and put them in separate dresser drawers.
She said he had other firearms in the house and a rifle in his Mercedes.
Her son told investigators he and Michael had been at Campbell’s Sporting Goods in Hollidaysburg the day before the shooting, and Michael was talking about handing out the guns and warning people the world was coming to an end. Michael asked the 19-year-old if he read the Bible and if he was saved.
The police affidavit said the way Michael was acting scared the teenager.
The day of the shooting, the girlfriend called her son to ask if Michael was OK. He looked outside the home and saw Michael standing by a shed in the property. That’s the last he saw him, according to the affidavit.
The morning of the shooting, Rose Lynn contacted 911 to report Michael had shot her husband at their home. She told emergency personnel he was driving a large white, four-door truck.
After shooting Kenneth Lynn, police said Michael went to the church, where he shot Scott. He then crashed his vehicle into the pickup truck being driven by Rhodes and shot Rhodes.
Police said Michael continued along Juniata Valley Road and upon seeing Troopers David Nazaruk and Timothy Strohmyer approach him in their vehicle, Michael put his handgun out the window of his truck and fired as they passed.
The troopers “spun around and began to pursue Michael. Michael then came upon Cpl. Kevin Campbell, who was also responding to the shootings, police reported.
Michael drove his truck into the front of the state police cruiser.
“A gun battle ensued and Jeffrey Lee Michael was shot and killed,” police reported.
All of the officers were treated for injuries and have returned to duty.
State Police Cpl. Ken Butler in Hollidaysburg reported Wednesday the investigation is still ongoing. The police focus now is to trace the guns from Michael’s home and the gun used in the killings.
Butler reported the guns were “believed to be owned by someone in the household.” None were stolen.
“We want to see where and how the guns were purchased and make sure the guns were purchased legally. We want to make sure we didn’t have anyone out there who contributed to this,” he said.
Michael in February 2010 was under a protection-from-abuse order brought by his wife. Butler said investigators want to determine if Michael was supplied with guns during that period of time.
“One of the matters we want to look into is who purchased [the guns] and when they were purchased to see if it’s in violation of the law,” Butler said.
As for the killings, Butler said, “There was really nothing we found that indicated he premeditated it. He had generally been talking to friends and family that the U.S. was going to abolish the Constitution, we were going to be a communist state and the world was going to end.”
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.