Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cambria Family Feud Ends with Four Dead in Shootout Daughter, Spouse Attack Rural Home

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cambria Family Feud Ends with Four Dead in Shootout Daughter, Spouse Attack Rural Home

Article excerpt

Plans for a quiet night at home for an elderly couple and their adult son in Cambria County ended in the shooting deaths of four family members Friday after a brazen home invasion by the couple's long-estranged daughter and her husband, according to state police in Ebensburg.

Roberta Frew, 64, her husband, 67-year-old John Edward Frew Sr., and their son, 47-year-old John Edward Frew Jr., had just come home to their house in rural Ashville, Pa., after dining out and had settled into the living room of their double-wide trailer home to watch television when they heard a knock at the door at about 10 p.m., police said.

Mrs. Frew answered the door and, police said, her husband believes she cried out, "Oh my God, they have guns!"

The woman outside the door -- who was later identified as the couple's daughter, 43-year-old Josephine Ruckinger -- immediately shot Mrs. Frew in the chest with a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun, killing her, police said.

Mr. Frew and his son scattered, and police say the younger man might have tried to grab a .22-caliber rifle, but was shot in the chest multiple times and killed by the male intruder, Josephine Ruckinger's husband, 43-year-old Jeffrey Ruckinger.

At the time, Mr. Ruckinger was carrying a .410 derringer pistol and a .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol, according to state police.

The elder Mr. Frew, however, escaped injury and managed to retrieve a .22-caliber revolver from a rear bedroom, they said. He emerged to find the female intruder -- whom police said he didn't recognize as his daughter because he hadn't seen her in 20 years -- aiming her gun at him.

"As he emerged into the room, he observed the female intruder down on one knee and at that point, he observed the 12-gauge shotgun pointing in his direction," said Troop A spokesman Trooper John Matchik. "At that point, he shot her in the head with the .22- caliber revolver."

Mrs. Ruckinger was later pronounced dead at Altoona UPMC Trauma Center. The cause was a single gunshot wound to the head, according to the Cambria County coroner. …

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