A man who may have been having trouble getting permits for work on his property shot and killed a township employee in a government building Tuesday, then paced the hallway with his head in his hands until police arrived to take him into custody, authorities said.
The gunman walked inside the Paradise Township municipal building about 8:20 a.m., asked for the victim by name, then shot him in the mouth in his office, according to court documents. A co-worker administered CPR until paramedics showed up, but Michael Tripus, 65, of Stroudsburg, was declared dead at the scene.
State and local police arrested David Green, 72, of Swiftwater, without incident.
Green was arraigned on a homicide charge Tuesday afternoon and was ordered jailed without bail. He covered himself with a yellow tarp or poncho as he was led into a magistrate’s office, telling reporters, “I’m really sorry for what I did.”
Online court records don’t list an attorney who could speak on Green’s behalf.
It remained unclear what motivated the shooting in the Pocono Mountains, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Philadelphia.
Court documents said Green told police he was under pressure and was having problems with his new house, including mold. But he said Tripus — the township’s sewage enforcement and building code officer — had nothing to do with the problems and acted professionally when he showed up unannounced Tuesday morning.
A neighbor, meanwhile, told police that Green was dealing with mold and a faulty septic system and was having difficulty obtaining certain township permits.
“As a result, there may be evidence in the residence as to the possible motive,” troopers wrote in an affidavit.
Gary Konrath, chairman of the township’s Board of Supervisors, said he was unfamiliar with Green. The township’s executive secretary told him the gunman is “not someone they are aware of. No one appears to recognize the individual,” he said.
Tripus himself told a co-worker before he was shot that he had “no idea” who Green was, court documents said.
The township is in a rural area and has a population of about 3,200. It employs three full-time workers and one part-time worker in the office, and six on the road crew. The township building has no security camera, but there is a panic button that links to 911, according to Konrath.
Paradise Township is about 20 miles (30 kilometers) north of Ross Township, where a gunman opened fire at a Board of Supervisors meeting in 2013, killing three.
“As we have learned in the wake of the Ross Township shooting five years ago, township elected officials and employees serve on the front line of public service and sometimes find themselves in harm’s way,” the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors said in a statement. “In today’s world, townships must balance the demands of community safety and public access.”