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Hero says focus on victims and their families

Bernie Kozen was one of two who stopped Ross Township slaughter

Ross shooting hero issues statement

SAYLORSBURG, Pa. - One of the two men hailed as heroes for stopping a gunman from killing more people in Monroe County Monday night says everyone should be focusing on the victims and their families.

"They need support and prayers more than any of us will ever know," said Bernie Kozen in a statement released Friday.

 "It is time for us to come together, to unite and stand by those most affected by this senseless, unjustified tragedy," wrote Kozen.

"By doing so, we can ensure that the shooter doesn't win a second time -- by destroying the bonds of our community."

Kozen, the local parks department director, was attending a Monday night supervisors meeting in the Ross Township municipal building when shots blasted through windows and a wall, killing three people and wounding three more.

Kozen huddled in a corner when the shooting started, but he and township resident  Mark Kresh tackled the shooter --identified as 50-year-old Rockne Newell --when Newell came into the meeting room firing a handgun.

Kozen told police that during the struggle, he shot Newell with Newell's gun.

Kresh and Kozen kept the suspect pinned until police arrived.

Police credit the two men with saving lives.

While saying he is eternally grateful for the outpouring of support toward himself and his family, Kozen said he will make further statements or do interviews about what happened "at this time" and asked that his privacy be respected.

Kozen signed his statement as executive director of the West End Park & Open Space Commission.

You can read Bernie's entire statement here.


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