CLEARFIELD – The investigation is ongoing into the deadly shooting that occurred Nov. 24 in Osceola Mills, according to Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr.
“[My] office has requested a complete review of this case,” he said. “The investigation is currently ongoing to determine the exact nature of the circumstances leading up to this tragic event.”
The investigation has been assigned to the Pennsylvania State Police’s Bureau of Integrity and Professional Standards.
“Three people are deceased and it is critical to verify that all policies and procedures were followed,” he said.
According to Shaw, Clearfield-based state police received a report about a domestic incident involving gunshots around 7:30 a.m. Nov. 24 at a Curtin Street residence in Osceola Mills.
At the scene, troopers discovered that three victims had been shot. Troopers began an immediate search for the suspect, Cody Bush, 26, of Osceola Mills.
Chief Deputy Coroner Kim Shaffer-Snyder identified the shooting victims as Victoria Schultz, 21, and her mother, Beth Schultz, 47, both of Osceola Mills. A third shooting victim, Jessica Schultz, 25, was taken to UPMC Altoona for treatment.
At approximately 11:30 a.m. Nov. 24, troopers located Bush’s body along state Route 53, outside of Osceola Mills. Bush had suffered an apparent self-inflicted, gun-shot wound to the head.
Shaw said at the time of the shooting, Bush was out on bail after a Nov. 8 preliminary hearing on a misdemeanor charge of stalking and a summary charge of harassment.
Bush had allegedly mounted a hidden GPS tracking device on a car belonging to Victoria Schultz. She told state police that she was being stalked by her ex-boyfriend, Bush.
Following the preliminary hearing, all charges were held for court for further disposition. Per request of the District Attorney’s office, the district magistrate issued a no-contact order against Bush.
As a result, Shaw said Bush was prohibited from having any contact with Victoria Schultz as a condition of his bail.
At approximately 8:30 a.m. Nov. 22, state police responded to a reported harassment incident involving Bush and Victoria Schultz at a Curtin Street residence.
Shaw explained that earlier reports, which stated Bush was charged for the incident, were misleading. He explained that state police prepared the harassment citation; however, it hadn’t been filed officially with the magistrate.
According to Shaw, state police protocol requires a citation to be prepared by the investigating trooper. It must then be submitted to a supervising corporal for approval. Upon approval, it’s forwarded to the district magistrate for official filing.
In this case, the citation was prepared and in the process of being sent to the magistrate’s office. “Bush couldn’t have been incarcerated on the citation, even if it had been filed. Bail is not set when summary citations are issued,” Shaw said.
He said that on Nov. 22, state police urged Victoria Schultz to apply for a Protection from Abuse order. Later that day, Victoria Schultz applied for and was granted a temporary PFA.
Upon its issuance, sheriff’s deputies immediately attempted to serve Bush the PFA order. However, he could not be located, and consistent with procedure, state police were requested to assist with PFA service after hours.
Bush was located Thanksgiving Day, around 12 p.m. and served with the PFA. When it was served, troopers confirmed that Bush did not have any firearms in his possession.
“The investigation is ongoing to determine where Bush obtained the firearm used in the shooting,” Shaw said. “Preliminary reports indicate that Bush had stolen the firearm from a residence in Ginter.”
By having contact with Victoria Schultz on Nov. 22, he said Bush would have been in violation of the no-contact order issued after his Nov. 8 preliminary hearing.
Shaw’s office handles no-contact orders through a petition to revoke bail. Upon being advised of the circumstances of this case, he said his office began gathering information to file a petition to revoke Bush’s bail.
According to him, a petition to revoke Bush’s bail would have been filed Nov. 27 due to the courthouse being closed Nov. 23-24 for the Thanksgiving holiday.
“When a petition to revoke bail is filed, it is processed and scheduled like any other petition,” he said. “The process can take several days before a judge is able to hear the case and make a ruling.
“The rules require the Commonwealth to give notice of the petition to revoke bail, as well as the date and time of the hearing to the defendant and defense counsel who have the right to call witnesses and oppose the motion.”
He added: “[After] a violation of a no-contact order occurs, police are not permitted to simply have the offender placed in jail.
“Constitutional requirements guarantee that due process is provided to criminal defendants, and the law requires that notice and a hearing be provided before a bail revocation can occur.”
Shaw noted that although district magistrates set bail, only a Court of Common Pleas judge can revoke bail. To have a defendant’s bail revoked, the Commonwealth must prove the violation occurred to the court.
Further, he said that this requires an evidentiary hearing before the court. During the hearing, witnesses will testify, and evidence will be offered to support a revocation.
“In the present case, a petition was required to be filed, served on Bush and his attorney and a hearing conducted before Bush’s bail could be revoked,” he said. “Logistically, the earliest a bail revocation hearing could have occurred would have been Nov. 29-30.”
Shaw said that domestic violence is a serious crime, and victims are encouraged to seek assistance and services, as well as to file reports. In Clearfield County, victims can call the police and or the Crossroads Program for Domestic Violence at 1-800-598-3998.
“These horrific tragedies are unacceptable and increased efforts need to be put forth to prevent the senseless loss of life,” he said.
Shaw added that citizens are understandably outraged and he urged them to contact their local legislators to advocate for stricter laws to prevent domestic violence
“Police need the legal authority to immediately detain someone suspected of violating a no-contact order or similar bail condition.”