Police: Blair County shooter feared doomsday

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Jeffrey Michael thought the world was going to end when he went on a rampage Dec. 21 and killed three people in rural Blair County before state troopers shot him, according to a police affidavit.

A search warrant also shows that he had a stockpile of weapons in his house, including a shotgun, two rifles, a pistol, a stun gun, folding knives and ammunition.

Troopers got the warrant after Michael, 44, an unemployed truck driver, shot a neighbor, shot a woman working at a church, and then rammed a pickup and shot the driver.

He died in a gunfight with police.

The search warrant affidavit echoes what Michael's neighbors and friends had told the local media about his apocalyptic views, his nasty divorce and custody battle, and his emotional trauma over the death of a woman in a traffic crash in which he was involved.

Michael lived with his girlfriend, Brenda Shultz, 51, and her son Lance, 19, after separating from his wife in 2010.

Both told troopers that he had been talking about doomsday in the days leading up to the shootings.

Dec. 21 had been increasingly in the news because it supposedly marked the end of the ancient Mayan calendar and some believed it was the day of the apocalypse.

Lance said he and Michael had been at a sporting goods store Dec. 20, where he said Michael made a statement about "handing out the guns" in preparation for Armageddon.

Lance told troopers that Michael had been "warning people that the end of the world was coming," police wrote. "Lance related that Jeffrey recently asked him if he reads the Bible and asked him if he was saved." Lance said Michael was "scaring me."

Ms. Shultz, who had lived with Michael for three years, said he had other emotional problems. She said he had been involved in a fatal traffic accident in March and was "having a hard time dealing with that."

It's not clear where the accident occurred. A close friend had previously told the Altoona Mirror that Michael suffered from post-traumatic stress after an October 2009 incident in which a suicidal woman jumped in front of his tractor-trailer in Centre County.

A neighbor, Brian Davis, said Thursday that Michael had told him he had killed two people in a traffic mishap in a Southern state.

Mr. Davis also related that Mr. Michael had appeared at his door two days before the shootings and started railing against "Obama legislation."

Police have said Michael had told people that he feared the Obama administration was going to abolish the Constitution.


Torsten Ove: tove@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1510.


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