LEBANON, Pa. – A mother of three who gained national notoriety after she openly carried a loaded handgun to her daughter's soccer game was shot dead along with her husband in what appeared to be a murder-suicide.
Meleanie Hain, 31, and Scott Hain 33, were pronounced dead shortly after 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at their 1 1/2-story brick home in Lebanon, a small city about 80 miles west of Philadelphia.
The couple's three children home at the time but weren't hurt, police told the Patriot-News in Harrisburg. They were taken to stay with friends and relatives.
Some neighbors told the Lebanon Daily News they heard or saw the children — a 10-year-old boy and girls aged 2 and 6 — running from the house and screaming "Daddy shot Mommy!" shortly before the 911 emergency center was alerted at 6:20 p.m.
Debbie Mise, who lives nearby, said she heard a strange sound following by the screams of the children.
"I heard something heavy drop or fall, and then right away I heard the kids screaming, but I thought they were playing," Mise said. "It was loud. But it didn't sound like a pop."
Lebanon Police Chief Daniel Wright said Thursday that the case is classified as a "death investigation" involving two adult victims, but that no one outside the home nor any of the children is suspected of killing the couple. Detectives were still at the scene late Thursday morning, he said.
Wright said he did not plan to release any additional information about the case until after Lebanon County Coroner Dr. Jeffrey Yocum conducts autopsies on Friday.
Details about the shootings and what prompted the violence remained unclear Thursday morning.
Neighbor Mark Long said the Hains had been having marital problems for about a week. He said Scott Hain had left home on Tuesday, and Meleanie Hain didn't know where he was, but that he returned Wednesday.
Another neighbor, Brian Witmer, said he saw Scott Hain mowing his lawn around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
"There was nothing out of the ordinary," he said. "He didn't seem strange at all."
Scott Hain worked as a parole officer in neighboring Berks County, the News reported. He was formerly a guard at the Camp Hill state prison, according to the newspaper.
Meleanie Hain made headlines after she attended her then 5-year-old daughter's soccer game in a park on Sept. 11, 2008, with her 9mm Glock pistol in plain view holstered on her hip, upsetting other parents.
The county sheriff, Michael DeLeo, revoked her gun-carrying permit nine days later.
Hain successfully appealed the permit revocation, although the judge who restored the permit questioned her judgment and said she had "scared the devil" out of other people at the game.
Hain sued DeLeo in federal court, alleging that he violated her constitutional rights and prosecuted her maliciously when he took the permit away. She said that because of his actions her baby-sitting service had suffered, her children had been harassed and she had been ostracized by her neighbors in Lebanon, which has about 25,000 residents.
DeLeo said at Hain's appeal that he revoked her permit after fielding the parents' complaints. He said he based his decision on a state law that prohibits certain gun permits from being given to anyone whose character and reputation make him or her a danger to public safety.
After Hain sued DeLeo, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which says it tries to reform the gun industry through sensible regulations, offered to defend him for free.
"It is a case that calls out for common sense," Brady Center attorney Daniel Vice said then. "It's ridiculous to bring a gun to a child's soccer game."
A court hearing on Hain's $1 million lawsuit was postponed in May after an attorney in the case was involved in a traffic accident.