Shootings puzzle neighbors

ASHVILLE – As police continue to investigate Friday’s fatal shooting at 643 Bottom Road in Allegheny Township, neighbors said they, too, are trying to piece together what happened and to understand how an argument could have led to the shootout that left two of their neighbors, and two intruders, dead.

Police have not yet released names of the victims and others involved, but neighbors identified the homeowners as John and Roberta Frew and the son as Ed Frew.

Roberta Frew’s sister identified the dead assailants as the Frews’ daughter, Josephine Ruckinger and her husband, Jeff.

One neighbor, who declined to give his name, said the male homeowner -and sole survivor of the shootout – was a friendly, if quiet, man, who always waved to passersby.

Another neighbor, who declined to give his name, said he used to work with the man and that they got along well.

“He was a very nice guy,” he said, adding that the family members were loners but “friendly enough.”

There are conflicting reports as to the homeowner’s wife and son, however.

One neighbor, who declined to give her name, said both often made violent threats against her and other neighbors and that the son scared area children, forbidding kids from trespassing onto his property.

“I was scared of [the son],” she said.

Another neighbor, however, said the son raised chickens as a hobby and always gave him a dozen fresh eggs whenever he stopped by.

Several neighbors also identified a home across the street from where the shooting occurred as the son’s home, where camouflage jackets and other hunting apparel hang on lines across the front porch.

Neighbors said the son lived alone, and he loved to hunt and fish. One neighbor said she believed he was living with his parents only temporarily to recover from leg surgery.

While most neighbors said they rarely had regular interaction with the family, they said they were surprised that a fight Friday night, which police said escalated and led to the shooting, could have ended so violently.

“It’s too close to home,” said one neighbor.

Several remarked that there is one piece of the puzzle that confuses them; they said they were unaware the homeowners had a daughter and were never aware that she visited her parents, although the family apparently had lived at their Bottom Road house for more than a decade.

Residents said with investigators and fire crews gone, Saturday was quiet, with only a few neighbors venturing outside to cut their grass and only a handful of cars passing through along routes 53 and 36.

Two women working at Dee’s Country Cafe along Liberty Street in Ashville agreed that it was a quieter day than usual and that some may be shaken by the shooting.

Both women said they live outside Ashville, so they didn’t hear about the shooting until Saturday morning.

“How does something like that happen?” said one woman. “What kind of argument could they have had?”

She said she knew the man who survived and said she can’t imagine what he must be going through.

One woman said she told her father of the news and was scared, telling him, “We need to move away from Ashville.”

She said he responded that violence like Friday’s shooting “is everywhere” and moving wouldn’t do any good.

Mirror Staff Writer Kelly Cernetich is at 946-7520.