Shooting reported at Osceola Mills VFW hall, two sent to hospital

Emergency personnel responded to a shooting at the VFW hall in Osceola Mills on Wednesday.
Emergency personnel responded to a shooting at the VFW hall in Osceola Mills on Wednesday. CDT photo

A fight in the tiny borough of Osceola Mills turned violent Wednesday when two men were shot.

There was supposed to be a spaghetti dinner at the VFW post on Lingle Street but, instead, the block was taped off, with state police vehicles, Decatur Township police and Columbia Fire Company personnel swarming in front.

According to Clearfield County District Attorney Bill Shaw, state police at Clearfield were called to a shooting. The incident involved two Clearfield County men who were transported to UPMC Altoona with gunshot wounds.

Shaw said he could give no condition report and did not release the names of the individuals pending notification of family.

“The investigation is ongoing,” he said.

Shaw would not release many details, saying he did not want to influence the testimony of witnesses in he case, but added, “I think we have a pretty clear picture of what happened.”

One gun was recovered. Shaw could not say whether more than one weapon was used, or whether the two men were licensed to carry firearms.

A staff member at the club said a man came to the door and called a male customer outside. When the man left the building, the other man began to punch him before drawing a gun and shooting him.

State police at Clearfield confirmed that the shooting happened at about 2 p.m.

Osceola Mills Elementary School was on lockdown for “a few minutes after receiving reports of an incident at the VFW from parents,” Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District Superintendent Gregg Paladina said in an email.

Principal Susan Harris immediately contacted the state police, who said there was no danger to students, Paladina said.

Osceola Mills has not had a police department of its own in years.

Most recently, it contracted with Decatur Township to provide 10 hours of police services a week, but that was dropped last year.

Mayor Ida Reams said she did not think having that contract in place would have prevented the incident, but did say she wished there were additional state police available.

“As a prosecutor, I wish we had more police everywhere,” Shaw said.

Reams said Shaw attended a meeting in 2014 to attempt to set up a neighborhood watch program.

“We just couldn’t get enough interest in the community,” she said.

Reams has not given up in the wake of the shooting. She said anyone interested in starting a program should contact the borough.