A long-simmering neighbourhood feud boiled over into a fatal argument about snow shovelling on Monday, after a winter storm dropped 60 centimetres on a small Pennsylvania town.
Authorities say Jeffrey Spaide, 47, shot and killed his neighbours, James and Lisa Goy, before killing himself, in an incident partially captured on surveillance cameras in Plains Township, Pa.
The disastrous argument happened shortly before 9 a.m. on Monday, prosecutors say. James, 50, and Lisa Goy, 48, were clearing snow out of their parking spots and dumping it on Spaide’s property across the street, according to surveillance footage obtained by investigators.
Police say Spaide confronted the couple about their snow shovelling and they soon started trading obscene gestures and insults. James Goy appeared to raise his fist in a threatening gesture, then Spaide retreated into his home. He came back out with a pistol and shot the married couple in the middle of the street, prosecutors said. Then he went back inside.
Investigators say Spaide came back out a short time later with an AR-15-style rifle.
“He retrieved the rifle and shot them again,” Plains Township Sgt. Michael Smith said, according to the local Citizens Voice paper.
Officers were called to the scene for a report of gunshots and found the Goys already dead, prosecutors said. Police went to Spaide’s door and heard a shot from inside.
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“Spaide shot himself,” Smith said. “We heard the shot. At that point, we made a tactical entry and he was found with a self-inflicted gunshot.”
Officials say a total of 15 to 20 shots were fired.
Neighbours told police that Spaide and the Goys had been arguing for a long time over various issues, including snow removal. Police did not have any record of such disputes.
“They’re across the street from each other, and when they would remove snow they would throw it across the street at the other person’s property,” Luzerne County First Assistant District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce said.
Authorities say the Goys had a 15-year-old son who is now in his grandparents’ care.
Spaide lived alone.
— With files from The Associated Press