The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 23, 2013

EXPLOSION AFTERMATH | Man: Brother not a snitch

JOHNSTOWN — It’s been only days since 40-year-old Bradley Kollar backed a truck full of explosives to the Shaner family residence along Kepshire Road in Patton and detonated them, critically injuring 44-year-old William Shaner and his teenage son, Ryan.

An early morning phone call from Kollar to the Shaner home, made just moments before the blast, indicates Kollar was retaliating for information he believed William Shaner divulged to police, which led to a March 2012 raid on the Kollar residence.

“I got you now, you snitch,” Kollar said on the call, as quoted in a search warrant.

But, according to Shawn Shaner, William’s only brother, Kollar had his facts “all wrong.”

Shawn Shaner claims it was in a plea deal made by Kollar’s ex-wife’s daughter – who was facing drug possession charges – that police gained probable cause for the 2012 raid, where they found chemicals that could be used in meth production and explosives-making, as well as stolen heavy equipment.

“He thought and had it in his head that it was Bill,” Shawn Shaner said. “I’m just as shocked that (he) carried it this far.”

Shaner’s involvement with Kollar appeared to be thin from the outset of the case – police said they were “acquaintances” – and Kelly Callihan, Cambria County district attorney, could not establish how Kollar concluded that Shaner was responsible for his arrest. Names of police informants are kept in the utmost confidentiality.

“Obviously, there is a risk for people who cooperate with the police,” Callihan said during a Wednesday press conference. “Mr. Shaner was never named formally in any documents (relating to Kollar’s case).”

Of the three caught in the 9 a.m. explosion, only one died – Kollar. William Shaner’s son, Ryan, also in the house when the bomb went off, returned to school on Thursday. Shawn Shaner said that although Ryan has staples in his shoulder and knee, he was at the site of the family’s disintegrated home, full of energy and ready to clean up and move on.

“He’s running around like a typical 17-year-old,” Shawn Shaner said. “Invincible.

“Somebody was looking out for those boys,” he said.

William Shaner remains in intensive care at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Although he’s still listed in critical condition, Shawn Shaner said William Shaner was awake, alert and ready to be back home with his family.

“He’s stable right now. He’s got a broken back, six broken ribs and a broken sternum,” he said. “He’s getting a little antsy, but they won’t let him get up.

“Mentally, he’s all right,” he said.

The house, on the other hand, only serves as a shredded reminder of all the material goods the Shaner family lost that day. Shawn Shaner said his brother William Shaner did not have homeowners’ insurance.

Now, family and friends in the community are banding together to get the Shaners back on their feet, organizing drives for funds, household goods and even new appliances.

Michelle Wacker, who works with a relative of the Shaner family, said she’s been fielding multiple calls daily from folks wanting to offer clothing, silverware and dishes. Some told her they’ve started their spring cleaning early to round up items they can donate.

“I come home, call them back and make lists of whatever they’re donating and a time to pick them up,” she said.

Those looking to donate money to the Shaner family can do so at their nearest First National Bank branch – the account is named “Shaner Fund.” As of Friday afternoon, Wacker said the Shaner Fund had accumulated $417, and the account has been open only for two days.

Wacker also said Cambria Care Center of Ebensburg offered to donate a washer and dryer, but she would have to arrange for it to be picked up.

“If anyone has a truck and wants to help with the load,” she said in request. “I didn’t consider all the appliances.”

Wacker can be reached at 288-9252.

Rose Marie Fox, owner of Fox’s Hairazr Salon in Patton, is also collecting clothing and assorted household items at her shop at 711 Fifth Ave.

“I personally want to thank everybody; Bill’s friends, people who just care, people who have been saying prayers for my brother,” said Shawn Shaner. “They’ve been great.”

He said the donations will go a long way for a family that, although mercifully intact, is still facing a long road home – wherever that may be.

“I wish I knew that,” Shawn Shaner said. “But, he always has a home with his brother.”

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