Neighbors speak out after helping ex-wife escape Chester County gunman

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Friday, September 21, 2018
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Neighbors speak out after helping woman escape Chester County gunman. Watch the report from Maggie Kent on Action News at 4:30 p.m. on September 20, 2018.

WEST BRADFORD TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- A devastating and deadly rampage, that lasted more than seven hours, claimed three lives in one family in Chester County.

59-year-old Bruce Rogal died after killing his parents and attempting to shoot his ex-wife, Kitty, outside her West Bradford Township home.

"He just lost it - he just lost it when the divorce was final, which was yesterday. He lost it," said neighbor Janice Everett.

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan says it all began when Rogal received notice that his divorce was finalized Wednesday afternoon, and in the judgment the family home was awarded to his now ex-wife.

According to the D.A., around 5:45 p.m. Rogal drove to his ex-wife's home and, as she was in the driveway changing the oil in her car, he fired six shots at her. She was not hurt in the incident, but police say some of the bullets hit nearby houses.

"Everybody realized she was running from the ex-husband, he was trying to shoot at her," said neighbor Pauline Hart.

She ran into Janice Everett and John Bissinger who helped her escape into their home.

"I said, 'Get in my bathroom. Get in my bathroom,'" Evertt said.

"He was running through the front yard chasing her, shooting a gun. Thank God he missed her. He was only 20 feet behind her," said Bissinger.

When police got to the scene, Rogal was already gone.

Hogan says, around 6:15 p.m., Rogal drove to the Bellingham Retirement Community in East Goshen Township and shot his parents, William and Nancy, both in their late 80s, to death in their apartment. He then fled.

A massive manhunt went into the early morning hours.

As Rogal drove past the Pennsylvania State Police barracks, troopers gave chase and exchanged gunfire.

With the aid of a police helicopter, troopers were able to follow Rogal a few miles into the West Bradford Township neighborhood where his ex-wife lives and where he reportedly fired gunshots hours earlier. Police say there were no roadblocks, Rogal chose to head back there.

The police chase ended around 1 a.m. when Rogal crashed his silver Honda Odyssey into the side of the house. Police say the ex-wife was not home at the time.

He was dead in the driver's seat - weapons next to him. It's not clear if he shot himself or was killed by trooper fire.

Family members have since returned to the home, which now shows signs of the destructive rampage.

Police are still investigating the incident.

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