Paradise Twp. municipal building reopens after shooting

Paradise Twp. municipal building reopens after shooting

PARADISE TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WOLF) -- "Even today, the emotions are still very, very raw. This is a wound that is open still for everybody," said Peter Gonze.

It's been one week since the unfathomable happened along Paradise Valley Road.

"Tuesday was a roller coaster. Between the shock of getting the news, and then waiting to find out how our people were," Gonze recalled.

One week since a man walked into Paradise Township's municipal building and shot 65-year-old Mike Tripus.

"This road was a sea of police cars, flashing lights, ambulances, support people..." described Gonze.

Township workers were unaware of how deeply it would affect their lives.

"Everybody's going to deal with it on their own terms and on their own time, and we're going to take it one day at a time," he said.

And one week to the day, the township is now back open for the public.

Peter Gonze, Vice Chairman of the Township Board of Supervisors, says it's an important step to coming to terms with what happened.

"Right now being back in the building has been a helpful start," he said.

But a shadow of pain still hovers.

There's one behind a new cross now placed in front of the building.

It's handmade, with two cut branches, garnished in seasonal vines and leaves.

It was dropped off last Wednesday anonymously.

"With the outpouring of support that we've seen, it reminded me of the better angels of our mercy and our nature as human beings, where people have such compassion an support - and to me, that's one of the things that I think gives us strength," Gonze shared.

Strength to remember the colleague they lost, and the father, husband and friend that others lost, too.

"Just a couple weeks ago... he and I were talking about retirement," Gonze recalled.

Described as a great man, personable, and respected, Mike Tripus had worked as the township's building code officer for several years.

The shooting suspect, 72-year-old David Green, said he was having mold and septic issues.

He came in that Tuesday morning looking for Mike.

"It's still hard to fathom. I don't know what to make of it," said Gonze.

Green is charged with murder, and behind bars at Monroe County Correctional Facility without bail pending a preliminary hearing.

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