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Gunman kills woman at Pa. church, 2 men elsewhere

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. — A man fatally shot a woman decorating for a children’s Christmas party at a tiny church hall and killed two men elsewhere in a rural central Pennsylvania township Friday before he was fatally shot in a gunfight with state troopers.

The shootings began in Frankstown Township at about 9 a.m. and investigators were processing five crime scenes within about a 1.5-mile radius, authorities said at a news briefing Friday afternoon. The troopers were responding to a 911 call of a shooting in the township when they heard calls reporting at least one other shooting elsewhere, State Police spokeswoman Maria Finn said.

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‘‘It’s going to take us some time to put this all together . . . and know exactly what occurred,’’ Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens, deputy State Police commissioner, said at a news briefing.

Family members of the victims said they were told the woman at the church was the first victim shot, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. The gunman then shot two men in the driveway of a home after a confrontation at a stop sign, authorities said.

‘‘This person went to their driveway with a pistol, pointed at them and started shooting,’’ Marie Brenneman told the newspaper, identifying herself as a cousin of one of the male victims. She said both male victims were the shooter’s neighbors in the tiny village of Geeseytown, about 70 miles west of Harrisburg.

The woman at Juniata Valley Gospel Church had cooked food the day before for the funeral of the longtime pastor, said the Rev. James McCaulley, his brother. The central Pennsylvania church was still reeling from the Rev. David McCaulley’s death when the woman returned to decorate the church hall and bullets ripped through a window, he said.

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