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Police trying to verify motive after man fatally shoots woman at church, 2 others in rural Pa.

  • c389f71ed3055c23240f6a706700ded2.jpg

    Local law enforcement block off road along Rt. 22 near the Canoe Creek State Park, Pa. while investigating a shooting on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. The suspect fired at troopers responding to Friday morning's shootings in Frankstown Township, about 70 miles west of Harrisburg. The fleeing gunman then crashed head-on into a trooper's car and got out of his truck and shot again at police, who returned fire and killed him. Blair County District Rich Consiglio says the gunman killed two men and one woman. (AP Photo/Altoona Mirror, J.D. Cavrich) (The Associated Press)

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    Emergency responders block Juniata Valley Road on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 in Geeseytown, Pa. A man fatally shot a woman decorating for a children's Christmas party at a tiny church hall and killed two men elsewhere in the rural central Pennsylvania township Friday before he was fatally shot in a gunfight with state troopers. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) (The Associated Press)

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    Pennsylvania State police Lt. George Bivens, right, talks during a news conference at the Geeseytown Fire Company about shootings along a nearby rural road that left four people dead and three Pennsylvania State troopers injured on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 in Geeseytown, Pa. Pennsylvania state trooper Jeff Pettuci is at left. A man fatally shot a woman decorating for a children's Christmas party at a tiny church hall and killed two men elsewhere in the rural central Pennsylvania township Friday before he was fatally shot in a gunfight with state troopers. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) (The Associated Press)

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    Pennsylvania state trooper Jeff Pettuci talks during a news conference at the Geeseytown Fire Company about shootings along a nearby rural road that left four people dead and three Pennsylvania State troopers injured on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, in Geeseytown, Pa. Pennsylvania State police Lieutenant George Bivens, is at right, and Capt. Maynard Gray is at left. A man fatally shot a woman decorating for a children's Christmas party at a tiny church hall and killed two men elsewhere in the rural central Pennsylvania township before he was fatally shot in a gunfight with state troopers. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) (The Associated Press)

Authorities in central Pennsylvania are trying to determine why a man fatally shot three people along a rural road before dying in a gunfight with police.

Troopers say the arduous investigation of the shootings that began Friday in Frankstown Township spanned five crime scenes within about 1.5 mile radius.

One victim was a woman decorating a church hall for a children's Christmas party to be held Saturday. Two men were killed elsewhere.

Now area clergy are planning a prayer vigil for Saturday.

Three troopers also were hurt after responding to 911 calls. Police say one trooper was shot in the wrist and chest, but was saved by body armor.

Authorities say the suspect was shot dead by troopers after ramming his pickup truck head-on into a police cruiser.

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