Man fatally shoots woman, self in Shoemakersville

Neighbor: 'I never thought this would happen'

SHOEMAKERSVILLE, Pa. - The small Berks County borough of Shoemakersville was rocked by violence early Monday morning.

A man fatally shot a woman and then himself around 1 a.m. in separate locations in the area of Fourth and Chestnut streets, according to authorities on the scene of the murder-suicide.

The victims were identified as Garry Maurer, 61, who lived at 425 Chestnut Street, and Carol Zimmerman, 50, who lived in nearby Mohrsville.

A neighbor told WFMZ's Alexandra Hogan that she had just returned home from work when she heard screaming outside her home on Fourth Street.

"So I went to the front door to check, and this lady was coming in my driveway," said Charity Groff. "She said please help me, and she came to my door and she banged on it, and I told her that I was going to call 911"

The woman, later identified as Zimmerman, then went to Groff's backdoor, saying that she had been shot and pleading for help.

"I was on the phone with 911, and they basically told me to stay in my house, do not open the doors," Groff said.

Still on the phone with 911, Groff said she heard a gunshot and then looked outside to find Zimmerman lying on her back porch.

"God had his hand on my house and my family," Groff said. "It's basically a miracle, because I never opened the door, and I can't imagine if I did."

"We don't know what would've happened if she would've been able to get into the house, if Garry would've followed her into house," said Trooper David Beohm, Pennsylvania State Police.

Troopers converged on the scene, not yet knowing the circumstances surrounding the shooting. They were soon drawn to Maurer's home on Chestnut Street.

"The front door was open and the lights were on," Beohm said. "We had our helicopter come up here to survey the area, because we want to be very cautious because we already have someone here deceased."

"At or around 5 o'clock this morning, we looked inside the front door and saw Garry deceased inside the house," Beohm added.

Zimmerman worked as a bookkeeper for Maurer's mother, who died on March 8, according to state police. Investigators said they do not know why Zimmerman was at Maurer's home early Monday morning.

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