the case for better gun control and better mental illness treatment hits too close to home

shooter

Actual text message I received from a friend who lives in one of the neighborhoods across Boot  Road in West Chester and the retirement communities and Giant 

The text message you don’t EVER wish to receive.  Active shooter.

As in person with gun or guns.

Near where several of my friends lived….in multiple municipalities.

Yet that is what a lot of us lived for a few hours in Chester County last night. I had several friends, good friends on lock-down or shelter in place in East Goshen, West Goshen, and Willistown. Kind of surreal. Like watching a live episode of Law & Order unfold in neighboring municipalities.

Shooters shooting up schools and every place else is NOT what you think of living around here…until last night when shooting up nursing homes became a thing.

As NBC10 Philadelphia and others like Daily Local reported (video and article HERE) this guy, this unbalanced man named Bruce Rogal must have snapped and first went after his ex-wife in West Bradford and shot AT her six times (he missed thank God), drove to Bellingham, one of the retirement communities in East Goshen near the Giant on Boot Road and then proceeded to shoot and murder his elderly parents, William and Nancy Rogal. Nancy Rogal was an artist. She was as per the Inquirer featured in a 2008 show at the Chester County Art Association.

Those poor people were in their 80s. May God have mercy upon their souls.

I guess retirement communities and nursing homes are going to have to consider getting metal detectors like a lot of schools now?

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan  released the following statement:

PRESS RELEASE

Investigation Into Retirement Community Murders Is Ongoing

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced that the investigation into the deadly shootings at the Bellingham retirement community and the death of the suspect is ongoing. The suspect, Bruce Rogal, age 59, killed his parents in the Bellingham retirement community in East Goshen Township on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, at approximately 6:15 p.m. The suspect attempted to kill his wife in West Bradford Township earlier in the evening at approximately 5:30 p.m. This activity appears to have been triggered by a divorce decree received by Rogal that day.

The murders and attempted murder set off an intensive manhunt for Rogal. The media put out warnings, identifying information, and photographs of Rogal to the public. The Chester County Regional Emergency Response Team responded to Rogal’s home to search for him. Pennsylvania State Police (“PSP”) Troopers eventually observed the suspect driving his 2002 Honda Odyssey on Strasburg Road. Rogal led the police on a high speed chase back to his wife’s home, where he had shot at his wife earlier in the evening. Shots were exchanged during the pursuit.

Rogal’s vehicle eventually crashed into his wife’s residence. PSP, the Chester County Regional Emergency Response Team (“CCRERT”), and municipal police departments all were at the scene. CCRERT members approached the vehicle and discovered that Rogal was already deceased in the driver’s seat of the vehicle, with other firearms still in the vehicle.

The investigation into Rogal is ongoing pending review of multiple crime scenes, autopsies, interviews with the involved Troopers who discharged their weapons, and additional investigative tasks. There is also an ongoing investigation with family members into the circumstances leading to Rogal’s attempted murder of his wife and the murder of his parents.

District Attorney Hogan stated, “Chester County law enforcement worked cooperatively and swiftly to bring this situation to a close. Virtually every law enforcement agency and other first responders in the county and region either assisted or volunteered their assistance during the tense hours of this manhunt for a killer. The citizens of Chester County can take comfort in knowing that when dangerous situations like this take place, their police and first responders are prepared. We will continue to investigate this matter and provide additional information when the investigation is complete.”

This case was investigated by the Chester County Detectives, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Westtown/East Goshen Regional Police Department, Chester County Regional Emergency Response Team, and multiple assisting agencies. The Chester County Department of Emergency Services, the Coroner’s Office, and numerous fire companies and EMT services played critical roles in securing the scenes and assisting law enforcement. Anyone with further information should contact Chester County Detective John O’Donnell at 610-344-6866.

* * * * * * *

Approved for release:

Thomas P. Hogan

You will note, I am not posting a photo of the shooter. I just. CAN’T.  I keep thinking of the terror his ex-wife must have felt, and the final moments of an older couple living in a retirement home. His parents. Family shattered in an instant.

The police, state troopers, and all first responders did a magnificent job last night.  This was a welcome to crazy town situation to be sure.

I do not know what is known about this man Bruce Rogal.  I have seen chatter back and forth on Facebook especially that say he was a local guy, went to Henderson High School, got married, got divorced…don’t know if he has children, don’t know why he delaminated but as uncaring as it might sound, as a woman I am glad he is no longer among the living because now at least his poor ex-wife won’t have to look over her shoulder for the rest of her life.

But I think this begs the question of when we are all going to lay down our politics and self-righteousness and have a real conversation about better mental health resources and sensible gun control in this country?

I am not saying that so I can start getting hate comments, but we as reasonable human beings have to ask how a man with issues like that GOT A GUN??? I know the arguments on both sides of the gun control debate in this country but I have to ask, while everyone and politicians are hashing this out, why aren’t there at least mental fitness exams for those who wish to possess firearms?

Forbes in February, 2018 published a very interesting op-ed by Chris Ladd called One Simple Step Toward Sane Gun Laws.  You can click on the hyperlink to read.  I will note his bio:

For almost thirty years I was active in Republican politics. Most recently I spent ten years as a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago. I am a Texan in exile. While a college intern at the Texas Legislature I met a young Rick Perry, fresh off his switch from the Democratic Party. As a donor and volunteer for a Republican PAC in Houston I volunteered for Republican state and local campaigns. From 2009-2016 I wrote the GOPLifer blog. My book, The Politics of Crazy, is a distillation of ideas from the blog. After the 2016 Republican National Convention, I resigned my position as a precinct committeeman and left the Republican Party. I now maintain a new blog, PoliticalOrphans.com.

We deserve peace where we live. People should not be able to just go shoot up people anywhere. But until we convince our elected officials on a national stage to stop pontificating and start governing responsibly in a bi-partisan manner, it won’t happen.

Our mental health resources aren’t where they should be either thanks to the continuing crisis of healthcare, politicians (whose benefits we as taxpayers fund but I digress), and big pharma who think pills fix everything.  Pills do not fix everything and there needs to be more comprehensive care resources available to people from all walks of life and all socioeconomic levels.

And domestic violence? Does this play a part here as well? I have to wonder because some of the media outlets have posted this at the end of their coverage like NBC10 Philadelphia did:

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HELP: The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 (TTY) provides people in distress, or those around them, with 24-hour support.

Today, anyone related to this Bruce Rogal either by family or other kinds of relationships will have to start to pick up the pieces and move on. And mourn their dead.  No family should be torn apart by this.

Here is some of the coverage on this hideous event:

Man allegedly killed his parents and shot at ex-wife after getting divorce papers

By Faith Karimi, CNN Updated 6:58 AM ET, Thu September 20, 2018

Delaware Online: Suspect found dead after officials say he killed parents in retirement home Associated Press

 Daily Local DA: Suspect in double-shooting at senior living facility found dead
Fran Maye, Pete Bannan, Bill Rettew  

Philly.com CRIME & JUSTICE
D.A.: Shooter dead after killing his parents at Chester County retirement community
by Erin McCarthy, Vinny Vella and Robert Moran

 

3PM Updated details via Philly.com:

 

Updated details from the Inquirer — It is a LONG article, but here is an excerpt:
 

After a bitter, three-year divorce proceeding, Bruce Rogal’s marriage of 24 years ended Tuesday, with a formal ruling from a Chester County judge…He then drove 20 minutes away to the retirement community where his elderly parents lived and gunned them down, a violent outburst that betrayed the financial support they had provided for him for years….Rogal and his wife, identified in the paperwork as Catherine Christian, married in 1990. They have one son, Walter, now 27…..James Oley, who lives a few yards away, said Rogal’s minivan crashed into the front of the home. Then he heard the rapid fire hail of gunshots from police who had been tailing Rogal.

Rogal’s vehicle dented the front of his ex-wife’s home, he said. Afterward, Oley said he received a text advising people to stay inside, and soon another that declared the scene safe.

“Everyone is still in disbelief, just soaking it in,” Oley said. “But I think we all feel pretty fortunate nobody in our street was harmed, given those bullets were found from his weapon on both sides of the street and a couple houses were hit.”…Christian also was granted a protection from abuse order against Rogal around the same time the divorce was filed. It expired two years later, in June 2017, records show….The complaint filed in their divorce hints that an extramarital relationship led to their marriage’s dissolution. Rogal, 59, had started seeing another woman in 2011

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