The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

April 14, 2011

Two dead in city shooting

Gunman kills ex-girlfriend, self at day care

JOHNSTOWN — A Johnstown man shot and killed his former girlfriend Thursday just moments after she dropped their infant off at Johnstown day-care center.

The gunman – believed to be distraught over his mother’s death and a recent protection-from-abuse order – turned the gun on himself seconds later.

The victim was identified as Tasha Veney, 29, of the 300 block of Moore Street.

The shooter was identified as Chiedazo “Chad” Hardrick, 38, of the 700 block of Napoleon Street.

Cambria County Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski said Veney died from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and head. Hardrick died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, he said.

It is believed the Thursday morning incident stemmed from a domestic dispute, he said.

The estranged couple’s 11-month-old boy was inside the Little Lamb Day Care on Crouse Avenue in the Prospect neighborhood when the shots were fired that killed his parents just feet away in a broad-daylight murder-suicide.

“I don’t believe any of the kids witnessed it,” Johnstown police Chief Craig Foust said. “People from day care had information.”

Police found Veney’s body half in and half out of the passenger-side back door of her car, parked at the day care pull-in. The body of Hardrick – gun by his hand – lay under a tarp 30 feet away on the sidewalk.

Hardrick had lost his mother Wednesday evening. Moskal Funeral Home identified her as Deborah Ann Taylor, 60, of Johnstown.

“As far as classifying it, we’re safe in saying murder/suicide,” Foust said.

He said police were continuing to conduct interviews.

According to court documents, Veney filed for a protection-from-abuse order against Hardrick on April 5.

The papers indicate she was seeking to have Hardrick evicted from their home and was seeking custody of their three kids, including daughters ages 8 and 9. They had not lived together since March 26.

Foust said family members had stepped forward to take care of the children.

Galen Watts said he was driving by the center at about 9:45 a.m.

“I heard a man yelling at that girl in the car – and then pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,” he said at the scene. “I heard five of  ’em, at least five.”

Watts said he immediately called 911.

Shaking his head, Watts said, “She was a real pretty girl.”

The day care closed for the day by noon. A woman who answered the phone inside would not talk about the children.

Gary Shull, who lives about a quarter-mile away, was among several dozen people looking on from behind crime-scene tape.

He was on his computer when he heard the shots.

He said he heard from four to six gunshots in succession ­ – then a pause, and one final shot.

Veney was featured in a March 2006 Tribune-Democrat story as a single mom who managed to buy her Prospect neighborhood house with assistance from the Johnstown Housing Authority. “I love my house,” Veney was quoted.

Neighbor Shull said he is tired of the violence in the neighborhood.

“I try not to get too close to anybody up here – for safety, obviously,” he said.

The Rev. Richard Williams, pastor of Heavenly Sent Ministries in East Conemaugh, said his condolences go out to both families, whom he knew.

“I think the whole community feels the tragedy that has occurred,” he said. “We as black people in the Johnstown area, when tragedy comes about, pull together. If there is nothing else, we can hang on the promise of God when He said, ‘I’ll never leave you nor forsake you.’ ”

He said he believes the economic conditions have much to do with the condition and position of black males in the area.

Williams said black males have an ingrown pride in taking care of their families and the economic conditions make that difficult, he said.

Williams believes the death of Hardrick’s mother on Wednesday may have pushed him over the edge. His mother was someone he could lean on who had been taken away from him, he said.

“I just hope it’s a wakeup call to young people because things are not always going to be the way we want them to be,” he said.

“We must have patience and be persistent in our endeavors to have a happy life.”

Staff writers Sandra K. Reabuck and Frank Sojak contributed to this story.

 

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