Dad says Pa. shooting victim had been threatened
QUINCY, Pa. (AP) – The father of one of three people shot to death in a rural community said Monday his son had complained to state police about threatening text messages from the shooting suspect but was told there was nothing they could do.
Vince Santucci said that he encouraged his son Vince Santucci Jr., who was known as Luke, to contact police and that another victim, the suspect’s estranged wife, Brandi Cleeves, also received threatening texts.
“When a citizen, when a human being, when a taxpayer goes to the state police with that kind of information, I would expect something more than, `There’s nothing we can do,'” said Santucci, who was making funeral arrangements Monday as authorities performed autopsies on the victims, who included Luke’s mother, Linda Holma.
State police declined to comment.
Kevin Mathew Cleeves faces three counts of homicide for the Friday evening shooting outside the home of Holma and Luke Santucci along a busy two-lane highway in Quincy, in a rural area of south-central Pennsylvania, about 8 miles north of the Maryland state line.
Police say that in a phone conversation just after midnight, Kevin Cleeves confessed, and he was later captured in Ohio after having fled the scene with the 4-year-old daughter he shared with Brandi Cleeves. An Amber Alert had been issued for him and the girl, who was unharmed.
On Monday, Kevin Cleeves, 35, waived his right to fight extradition from Ohio, and Pennsylvania authorities have until Aug. 8 to pick him up, said court officials in Youngstown, Ohio. He remained in custody and was unavailable for comment.
Vince Santucci said Luke and Brandi Cleeves met at the restaurant where they worked in Chambersburg and had been dating for a few months.
Kevin Cleeves, of nearby Waynesboro, told a relative that night he had been drinking and was angry, according to a police affidavit, and told an investigator that he went to the home to make arrangements to pick up his daughter. Police said he told them the shooting began after Luke Santucci ordered him to leave the property.
Police said Cleeves told them he shot Santucci in his car and when his estranged wife jumped out he shot her, too. Police said Cleeves told them Santucci’s mother ran toward him and he shot her.
“Cleeves related that what he did was wrong,” Trooper Aaron Martin wrote.
Linda Holma, who was divorced from Vince Santucci, was an emergency room nurse at Chambersburg Hospital, where co-workers remembered her Monday as compassionate and dedicated.
“If someone needed help, she was the first in line,” emergency room physician Michael Coriale said.
Vince Santucci, who lives in Gettysburg, said his 29-year-old son was an “extremely kind” person who grew up in and around national parks as they moved around the country while he worked for the National Park Service. Luke Santucci attended middle school in West Yellowstone, Mont., and high school in Pittsburgh.
“I think a part of Luke’s kindness and wanting to help came from his mother,” Vince Santucci said. “It’s so hard to realize that she died coming to help and save her son.”
He said Brandi Cleeves had recently shaved her head in solidarity with her mother, who has been fighting cancer.
“Brandi’s gone now. She’s not going to be there for her mother. She’s not going to be there for her younger half-sister. She’s not going to be there for her daughter,” Vince Santucci said. “A lot of lives, screwed up by this idiot.”
State police obtained a search warrant for Kevin Cleeves’ work computer at the Chambersburg company that makes Martin’s Potato Rolls, where he was a route sales support technician, vice president Scott Heintzelman said.
Heintzelman said Cleeves’ mother picked up his belongings on Monday and the company set up a scholarship for the couple’s daughter. He described Cleeves as “a nice guy” with nothing to suggest he would be capable of the horrific crimes he’s charged with committing.
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