People in the small Indiana County borough of Saltsburg were reeling Wednesday after a well-known local paramedic was charged with the shooting death of a well-liked gun shop owner.
"This is a small town," said John Dice, the chief of the Saltsburg Volunteer Fire Department. "You're talking about people that know each other intimately.
"It's been very difficult."
Frank Petro, 62, was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon at his store, Frank's Gun Shop & Taxidermy, on Hogue Drive in Conemaugh.
Pennsylvania State Police charged Jack O. Edmundson Jr., 43, of Saltsburg with homicide, attempted arson and aggravated assault.
Following the shooting about 1:30 Tuesday afternoon, Chief Dice said, Mr. Edmundson was transported to an area hospital because he sustained an injury to his leg.
The Indiana County coroner's office said Wednesday that Mr. Petro sustained multiple gunshot wounds. State police are expected to hold a news conference about the incident today.
Chief Dice, who went to school with Mr. Petro and volunteered at the fire department with Mr. Edmundson, said the community was "stunned" by what happened.
"Am I surprised? Yeah. Am I blown away? Yeah," he said. "It's devastating news to even absorb."
Chief Dice said he worked in area coal mines with Mr. Petro, who he believed was most recently working as a state safety inspector. Mr. Petro, who has a wife and two adult sons, had worked in the mines for more than 40 years, Chief Dice said.
"He was a good guy. He was a tough guy, but he was a good guy. He spent his whole life here," Chief Dice said.
Mr. Edmundson had been an inactive member of the fire department for 15 years or more, Chief Dice said, but in the past year became active and had asked about becoming an engineer and driving the trucks.
The chief was unaware of any relationship between Mr. Petro and Mr. Edmundson.
"It was a surprise to me, totally," Chief Dice said. "Frank has always been a hunter and sportsman, and Jack was none of those."
According to chief deputy coroner Jerry L. Overman Jr., Mr. Edmundson served as a deputy coroner several years ago, under the previous coroner, Thomas Streams. However, he was terminated after current coroner, Michael Baker, took over, Mr. Overman said.
Mr. Edmundson worked as a paramedic for several different agencies in Indiana and Westmoreland counties.
"I did not know him that well," Mr. Overman said. "I knew of him."
According to court records, Mr. Edmundson was arrested in November on charges of false imprisonment, unlawful restraint, simple assault, harassment, disorderly conduct and impersonating a public servant.
The charges stemmed from an incident on Nov. 21 in which someone allegedly threw corn at Mr. Edmundson's car and he then chased down and handcuffed the person.
His attorney on that case, Robert S. Bell, could not be reached Wednesday.
Mr. Edmundson was arrested that day and released on bond the following day.
He waived his preliminary hearing and is scheduled for formal arraignment in the Indiana County Court of Common Pleas on Jan. 28.
Paula Reed Ward: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-2620 or on Twitter @PaulaReedWard.