State College

4 people now dead in State College shootings, police say

Police respond to State College shooting

Police responded to a reported shooting Thursday night at the Ramada on South Atherton Street.
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Police responded to a reported shooting Thursday night at the Ramada on South Atherton Street.

Four people are now dead after Thursday night’s shooting events in State College.

Jordan Witmer — a 21-year-old man from Bellefonte who shot four people Thursday night in State College — had no relationship with three of them, according to State College police chief John Gardner, who updated media in a press conference Friday afternoon.

The exception was Witmer’s ex-girlfriend, 21-year-old Nicole Abrino.

The two were speaking at P.J. Harrigan’s Bar & Grill at the Ramada Inn on South Atherton Street at about 10:15 p.m. and were seated across from Dean and Steven Beachy.

Police don’t yet know why, but Witmer eventually got up from his seat, walked to the other side of the bar and began shooting.

Dean Beachy, 62, was shot in the head and died at the scene. Then Witmer shot Steven Beachy, Dean’s 19-year-old son.

Steven died at about 1 p.m. Friday after being treated at Mount Nittany Medical Center and airlifted to UPMC Altoona’s trauma center.

Abrino, meanwhile, was shot in the chest and is currently at a Pittsburgh area hospital receiving treatment. Her condition is unknown, according to Gardner.

From there, Witmer left P.J. Harrigan’s, hopped in his black Mazda, drove to the intersection of Waupelani Drive and Tussey Lane and inadvertently crashed the vehicle.

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The bent up fence that a Mazda allegedly driven by Jordan Witmer crashed off of Tussey Lane that boarders the Juniper Village property on Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. W Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

Witmer then exited the vehicle, shot and kicked his way through a sliding glass door into a residence on Tussey Lane and killed 83-year-old homeowner George McCormick.

While McCormick’s wife locked herself in a bedroom and called 911, Witmer shot and killed himself, at about 11:15 p.m. Thursday.

“It is believed at this time he randomly chose their house after he crashed the car,” Gardner said.

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On Friday, Jan. 25, a back door is boarded of the home at 748 Tussey Lane where 83-year-old George McCormick was killed and Jordan Witmer killed himself on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

Gardner said Witmer was legally allowed to carry the gun — a small-caliber semi-automatic — he used throughout the hour-long incident.

The Ferguson Township, Patton Township and Penn State police departments also responded, along with Centre LifeLink EMS.

In a Facebook post, P.J. Harrigan’s management said the bar will be closed “for the foreseeable future,” while the restaurant will be closed “until next week.”

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A sign on the door of the PJ Harrigan’s on South Atherton Street says it will be closed after the fatal shooting on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

A vigil organized by Standing at the Gates for Justice is planned for 4-5:30 p.m. Monday at the South Allen Street gates.

Please check back for updates.

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Bret Pallotto primarily reports on courts and crime for the Centre Daily Times. He grew up in Lewistown and graduated from Lock Haven University.


Sarah Paez covers Centre County communities, government and education for the Centre Daily Times. She studied English and Spanish at Cornell University and grew up outside of Washington, D.C.


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