Conemaugh gun dealer killed

State police release little information in Indiana County death; 2nd person hospitalized

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State and federal investigators said little Tuesday night as they continued to investigate the apparent shooting death of a gun dealer earlier in the day at his rural Indiana County shop.

Pennsylvania State Police were taking the lead in the homicide investigation at Frank's Gun Shop & Taxidermy on Hogue Drive in Conemaugh, where the dealer was killed and another man was said to have been shot and wounded.

Investigators released no details about the incident and did not identify either victim. No one could be reached from the Indiana County coroner's office.

But friends of the dead man, including volunteer firefighters who had been inside the house after they responded from their station across the street, said the gun shop owner was Frank Petro.

As of 8 p.m. investigators were still processing the scene along with agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. State police did not allow reporters to go up the long driveway near the house.

Lou Weiers, ATF resident agent in charge in Pittsburgh, was at the scene with his team. He said the ATF routinely responds to such incidents in which firearms dealers are killed to ensure that no guns have been stolen.

Capt. David Bruzda of the Tunnelton Volunteer Fire Department, which sits across the street from the shop, said he worked for Mr. Petro from time to time at gun shows.

"He's the nicest guy I ever knew," Capt. Bruzda said. He said he was the second person in the house after the shooting but declined to go into detail about what he saw, per a request from law enforcement.

"There's two people involved," Capt. Bruzda said. "One is in the house. One is in the hospital."

He said he and his crew had been about to prepare a landing zone for a medical helicopter when the transport was canceled on account of weather conditions. The living victim was taken to the hospital by ambulance instead, he said.

Maureen Song, 51, and her family live near the gun shop and said there have been no problems there.

Mr. Petro, she said, usually was open for business only on the weekends. She was unable to say why he was open Tuesday.

"I was cooking. I didn't even hear the gunshot, but my son did," Ms. Song said.

Before long the fire department siren sounded and firefighters were running to the shop, she said.

"It's a shame," Ms. Song said, "but things happen, unfortunately."

Jonathan D. Silver:, 412-263-1962 or on Twitter @jsilverpg.


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