A violent rampage that developed overnight in Chester County ended with a police chase and three people dead, including the 59-year-old man who authorities say opened fire on his ex-wife at the house they once shared before killing his parents at their retirement community home.
Many questions remain as the investigation into Bruce Rogal's crime spree unfolds, but here's a roundup of what we know so far about the case.
- Chester County shooter, ex-wife tangled in bitter, 3-year divorce that ended day before violent encounter
- Chester County killings underscore need for domestic-violence reform, advocates say; one bill could pass next week
- D.A.: Shooter dead after killing his parents at Chester County retirement community
Rogal drove a 2002 silver Honda Odyssey to the house in West Bradford Township he had shared with his ex-wife and fired six rounds in her direction while she was changing the oil in her car around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to police. He missed and the woman was not injured. Rogal then headed to the Park Lane at Bellingham, in East Goshen Township, a retirement community where his parents lived in an apartment, and shot and killed them around 6:15 p.m.
His parents, William and Nancy, were in their late 80s.
A police hunt ensued and ended after 1 a.m. Thursday, when Rogal crashed into his ex-wife's house and an exchange of gunfire with state troopers erupted, State Police Trooper James Spencer said Thursday. Rogal was found dead at the scene.
She is identified in court papers as Catherine Christian. She and Rogal married in 1990. In 2015, Christian initiated a divorce a month after the two got into a physical altercation at their home, court records show. The records indicate both filed criminal complaints against the other, with Rogal accusing Christian of hitting him over the head, and she accusing him of slapping her across the face. Both were found not guilty by a district judge.
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 had started seeing another woman in 2011, and Christian alleged he had spent $18,000 on her since 2011, including paying her rent for a year at an apartment in West Chester. Rogal told arbitrators that the woman had paid him back for the rent.
Right now, it's not clear if Rogal shot himself or if he was struck by police gunfire.
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said Rogal received an order earlier in the day finalizing his divorce. The divorce had "set [Rogal] off," particularly a judge's decision to grant his ex-wife sole ownership of their home, Hogan said. Rogal's motive for killing his parents is unclear.
An autopsy will determine whether Rogal was under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.
Not physically. The Park Lane at Bellingham was put on lockdown after the shooting but residents were allowed back in around 10 p.m. The living facility's website lists options for independent living, assisted living, and memory-care living, as well as skilled nursing, senior, and affordable, and short-term care housing. The type of facility his parents lived in is unclear.
"We are deeply saddened by the incident that occurred last evening, and our hearts and most sincere condolences go out to the family," the facility said in a statement Thursday. "The safety and well-being of our residents and staff are our primary concern, and grief counselors are onsite today to support our community. We appreciate everyone's support as we mourn this great loss at our community."
Officials have not disclosed what kind of weapon was used in the shootings, but a neighbor told the Inquirer and Daily News that his daughter saw Rogal holding what appeared to be a rifle with a shortened barrel.
Officials have said they would provide more details, but they have not scheduled a news conference. The investigation is ongoing, per a Thursday afternoon news advisory from the Chester County District Attorney's Office.